Undead Army Showcase – July 2016

Undead Army

This is my second “State of the Army” post, this time showing off all of the completed elements of my (Marouda’s) Undead Army at present. Like the Gondor army, I’ve been working on it on and off over the last two or so years, with a recent push during the last 6 months and the painting challenge. I’ve kept Undead on as one of my main options for the second half of 2016, though I’ve opened up my options quite a bit as painting mostly Gondor and Undead got very old by the end. The Undead aren’t so bad though, as there’s actually quite a lot of variety in there, especially when you combine “Vampire Counts”, “Tomb Kings” and even the spectral elements of Lord of the Rings in general and Mordor specifically.

Undead Army

These photographs were taken during the same session as the Gondor Army and 6-month showcase photos, so there has been a little more movement on these undead since then, specifically the unit base I put together for the trio of Nazgûl. I held off publishing (and writing) this post until now as I could see three sets of army showcase posts in a row getting a little tedious. Besides, I wanted to share my Spehss Mahreens.

Undead Army

The Barrow-Wights in the front row need to have a new unit base built for them as Mantic first Squatted them in KoWII before a protest from players (and with myself as one of the first, if not the first in the departed Beta forums) caused them to be reinstated, though now they’re “Large Infantry” with 40mm bases. I’m not going to rebase my LotR SBG figures, so I’ll be making a – hopefully slightly interesting and imposing – multibase for them. My first failed attempt already sits abandoned on my painting desk. 😛

Undead Army

There are a few variables in here. The various Mordor and Army of the Dead/Oathbreaker models will (theoretically) be split off one day to one or two LotR-themed armies of their own, the two units of skeletons with Greek shields and the odd bit of linothorax armour will go into the Mythical Greek army, along with the pair of Brass/Bronze Bulls, units of SpartansTalos, and more besides. Tomb Kings stuff, of which there is little to none right now will become it’s own force; and I’ve got a tub filled with Confrontation prepaint Wolfen, a miniscule 12 of whom are pictured here. Though there’s enough of those to happily stay in the Undead while also making up a Lycan-themed “The Herd” army of their own. Until those things begin to happen, though – they’re all combined to form a mighty undead army, led by Neferata (version 1).

Undead Army

There’s another couple of dozen troops (skeletons and zombies) on the paint desk right now, as well as a couple of more centrepiece-type models on the go. I’ll likely keep knocking out a few more undead units as I paint a variety of other things in the time between now and the New Year.

Neferata and Bastet

Marouda took a few photographs as well, managing to take a much better photograph of Neferata than I did when I posted her here – certainly in terms of her facial details not being nearly as washed out as in my own photos. I’m still learning my way around the new camera, but hopefully getting better!

Undead Army

There are a few not-quite-finished models in this photo. 6 Nazgûl (including a few named) and The Witch King. The Confrontation Wolfen also don’t have any paint on them aside from the retail pre-paint. You can also see some more candidates for scenic multibases besides the Wights. Hopefully between some of that and the centrepiece models I need to complete, I’ll be able to show this force off again at the end of the year in a more impressive light.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tale of Gamers Jan-June 2016 – Final Showcase: Gondor and Undead

At risk of being slightly repetitive, here’s a final picture of all of the units that I managed to complete for the Undead and Gondor armies in the past 6 months. This obviously doesn’t include all of the other random figures or scenic bits that I finished in the same timeframe. (Though that grave I painted up is in the background.)

6 months worth of focused army painting. Completed additions to my Undead and Gondor forces.

I’d planned to also photograph all of the Gondor models I painted separately, but it seems that I forgot. D’oh! These “section” shots will have to suffice.

Gondor Army

Gondor Reinforcements on the right, led by Denethor and Forlong, while a dirtied-up Faramir leads his veterans.

 

Denethor Steward of Gondor, Forlong the Fat

Denethor and Forlong survey the ground that lay in front of their small force.

 

Undead Army

On the other side of the table, Neferata and Bastet lead their own, larger reinforcements to the rest of the Undead army, who will bow to their new Queen.

 

Queen Neferata, Bastet

Queen Neferata and Bastet stride forth before their shambling horde of followers.

 

 

 

 

 

Tale of Gamers Jan-June 2016 – Undead Showcase

Well, the first 6-month Tale of Gamers challenge over on Dakka has concluded, and so I’ll be posting a few pictures of the completed stuff. For the challenge, I pledged to complete (at least) one unit each for Undead and Gondor. A Unit being a troop or regiment, or a war machine, monster or even a single hero model. Here’s what I managed to get completed.

6 months worth of Undead Army painting challenge.

Now an important thing to bear in mind is that the challenge is/was to complete units. This means that models like the Black Númenórean units (to be used as Vampiric Infantry) count, as the heroes were completed within these past 6-months, which combine with the other models painted last year, to form completed units. Likewise the Balefire Catapult crew that I recently finished combine with the actual catapult that I painted last year to make another complete unit. Because it’s as much about motivating the participants (and especially me) to finish off those things that just sit there for ages staring back at us, as it is for starting and finishing the newest shiny – and gives the opportunity to do both.

6 Months’ worth of Right Flank

6 Months worth of Left Flank

I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. There’s essentially enough here to run as an army in and of itself. Sure, it’s lacking in bits and pieces – such as ranged and cavalry – but as (the larger half) of a project put together in 6 months, I’m satisfied.

Mantic Games Undead Balefire Catapult

This update is slightly odd for me. Alongside the unit of skeleton infantry I shared with the previous update, I also managed to finally complete the two crew of Mantic’s Balefire Catapult. The odd part is that I painted the actual Catapult last year, and was sure I’d posted it here, but can’t for the life of me find it posted. This has of course been the final month of the first 6-month “Tale of Gamers” painting challenge that I’ve run over on Dakka.

As they were painted separately and at different times, the iconography of the Catapult is more than a little different to the plain freehand skulls and bones I’ve been giving the skellymans. I actually went for a stylised red eye. (hmm….) in order to allow the actual war machine (sans crew) to fit into several armies aside from solely belonging to the undeads.

The crew on the other hand, were started (well, assembled) at the same time as the Balefire, but only painted recently, more or less in concert with the infantry, so their livery is the more current, developed one that the army has taken on. Painting the crew does of course combine with the catapult to create another completed, finished unit – entirely the point of the ToG challenge!

That’s pretty much it. It has made for a good, strong finish to the final month of the painting challenge for the undead. Especially so, considering I had the painting doldrums and didn’t finish anything at all until almost three weeks in.

June’s “Tale of Gamers” Undead painting contingent.

I’ll get some “6-months worth of Undead” and “6 months worth of Gondor” posts up soon, and then follow them with a few “Army Showcase so far.” posts for my various army projects. Should be a bit of fun, or at least keep me interested for a little while…

 

 

 

77126: Vermin: Spiders, 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarm (Reaper Bones)

A couple of very simple paintjobs to share today as the first 6-month “Tale of Gamers” painting challenge comes to a conclusion at the end of June. Like many of us gamer-types, I have a shedload of random figures from Reaper’s Bones I and II Kickstarter campaigns. I did back the third one, but skipped the base pledge this time round as Reaper delved deeper into add-on territory and offered less “value” with the base pledge. Especially as I’ve got more than a lifetime’s worth of random bendy PVC fantasy models, as Tarmor can attest to as I offloaded a bunch to him awhile back! With Bones III, I picked a much more “curated” set of figures. But this isn’t a discussion of Bones III. It’s showing off some rather bland and generic figures with paint to match!

Reaper Bones 77126: Vermin: Spiders

These three are the 77126: Vermin: Spiders. Not a bad sculpt to be truthful. I painted them in red tones with yellowish markings because Marouda’s far from a fan of realistic, life-size spiders and because they’ll be used in the Undead army, and red/black with a touch of teal/bronze/etc are the army colours. Their fangs are done with Citadels’ new “Gemstone” paint (the blue one) over a dark metallic base. Mostly because I’d only just gotten them and wanted to experiment with them a little on inconsequential figures.

Reaper Bones 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarm

The next three are Reaper’s 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarms. These are what they are, I guess. Much more for generic roleplaying purposes, but they didn’t take much time to paint up and ink. I used a few shades of ruddy red-browns so as to distinguish the spiders a little. It didn’t especially work, but at least the blobs are varied a little. I could have gone through and very carefully painted eyes and markings on each individual spider, but at the end of the day, these Swarm models don’t deserve that much of my – or your – time. As gaming models for what are essentially trash mobs, they’re good enough. I have a bunch more of the larger spiders and beetles and such somewhere from Bones I that I was cleaning up for paint a year or two ago, but they’ve gone missing somewhere.

Reaper Bones 77126: Vermin: Spiders

Reaper Bones 77128: Vermin: Spider Swarm

All six models were based on 30mm bases I got from Impact! Games, as 25mm rounds are too small, they fit them well enough – and quite frankly I’m buggered if I’m going to use my expensive 32mm Citadel rounds on them. I then made up some unit bases for them from 120x40mm cuts of MDF that I purchased for unit trays – somewhat inspired by Grimdork’s unit trays over on Dakka. The trays are for their main use – as “Undead Army Swarms” in Kings of War. Technically, they’re a unit that is part of the Army of Dust (Not-Tomb Kings) and not the more generic Undead (that covers the Vampire Counts stuff), but I’m in favour of fluff over RAW when it comes to army lists for friendly games. When I paint scorpions, they’ll be much more AoD/TK themed. I noticed after taking the photographs that the grass tufts I’ve added to the bases here are a little dull, so I’ve since added a few in a slightly brighter green.

The First Unit of Mantic Skeletons

A slightly odd title, I know. But the fact is that I’ve got quite a few more of these suckers to paint at some stage, so I’m simply future-proofing this (series of) post(s) now.

I haven’t posted for awhile – a combination of being perma-fatigued from work and personal life issues, and the onset of the winter doldrums. I did bugger-all from the end of last month until about the middle of last week, when I finally got back to work. The end of the first 6-month “Tale of Gamers” challenge I’ve been running over on Dakka is coming to a close in a few days, and I need(ed) to get my skates on. I still need to get something finished for Gondor, the boring bastards!

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

These models were actually started several years ago, shortly after I purchased Mantic Games’ Dwarf King’s Hold: Dead Rising. Seeing as the game came with a dozen or so of Mantic’s Skellymans, and I had none painted or assembled at the time, I took a sprue or two from my (at the time) recent purchase of Kings of War 1st Edition: Morgoth’s Revenge (aka the one with the awful dwarves and a tiny A5 pamphlet for a rulebook) and built them up for the game.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

I can’t remember if DKH has a skeleton hero or not – or if I just built the guy with the two swords to keep myself interested. The feather-plumed skeleton also has a unit leader feel to him, though. Perhaps when I do another dozen of these guys one of this pair will remain here as the unit leader while the other moves on to lead the second unit.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

I only have three spears in this unit, as it was built for the boardgame. At some stage, I’ll build a spear-heavy contingent to combine with these guys (and one of those leaders up above) to make a spear unit. I’ll also do a few more with hand weapons to fill out a unit with regular weapons.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

All of the shields on these models have freehand designs. I’ll have to think of some other designs that are both simple to paint and suitable for this sort of undead models. Any ideas? Nothing too creative or exciting for these guys, though!

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

The difficulty with these models is as nice as these have come up – honestly, to my surprise – they were a real bastard to paint. Not fun at all. The issue I have is that the details are very shallow. I don’t mind fine detail, but it’s all very shallow on these guys, and as such, not simple and easy to paint in my style. Skeletons with well-defined details and bones are usually a joy to paint, but these aren’t it.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

While Mantic’s Undead are often cited as their best range – certainly before the latest batch of KoW plastics came onto the scene recently – and I do agree that the Zombies (and Ghouls, I guess – I’ve used a ton of Ghoul parts on my Zombies) are great models. The differences are that the Zombies are a real pleasure to paint, but are severely limited in their components and require a fair bit of work to get differentiation once you go beyond the first few models (hence using all those Ghoul parts on mine). The Skeletons on the other hand have a lot more components to choose from to make the models more varied, and like the Zombies, they look pretty good once done – but they’re the opposite of the pleasure to paint that the Zombies are.

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Will I paint some more? Well, I feel obliged to do another dozen in order to split the spears and hand weapons, so I’m sure I’ll do those this year. After that, it’ll be a second dozen of each to bring each of them to horde-size, though that’s less likely to happen this year. I also have a few sprues of Mantic’s Skeleton Revenants, though again, no real plans to do those anytime soon. Maybe I’ll paint my Mantic Skeleton Cavalry first…

Mantic Games Undead Skeletons

Still, I have to give this painting challenge credit – It motivated me to sort out these guys who had been assembled and nothing more but sat aside for around four years or more, and now we have another finished unit of models, and while they’re not going to win any Crystal Brushes, I reckon they make a very nice unit for the table.