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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Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade

After a week of not being able to find my camera, and therefore given the option of using my newish phone for photos (sorry, Samsung, you’re not quite there yet) instead, and also not quite sure what I had taken in the last batch, I’ve found it last night!

This fine fellow is Citadel’s Wight King with Baleful Tomb Blade, originally released a few years ago as part of the Vampire Counts line, he survived the transition to Age of Sigmar pretty much intact, now being a part of the Deathrattle sub-faction faction of the Death Grand Alliance. Or to those of us who don’t much care about all of that, he’s a cool looking Wight model. Like, I’m not a guy who hates AoS. The system is fine, and the models are as great as ever (generally!) but the background doesn’t do much for me, so I mostly ignore it.

This lord has an impressive cloak. I don’t usually highlight strong colours to white or near-white, especially when using colours as opposed to shades of grey, but this cloak seemed to warrant it as a rare example.

He’s based on a 40mm resin base from Back-to-Base-ix. In retrospect, I think he’d “fit” much better on a 32mm, but he’s been mounted and part-painted since before 32mm based were a thing, and I wanted the resin base to elevate him to more of a hero status. I’ve also used round bases on my fantasy models for aesthetic reasons since long before AoS was a thing, and since heroes in KoW don’t have a facing, I saw no reason to consider changing. The crimson flowers and grass tie him in with the other heroes in the Undead army.

The only strong colour on this model is really the red, with the sword having a blueish tint that marks it as a magical blade, rather than simply an old, corroded one. Perhaps it glows blue when Orc-kind are nearby?

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

(Yet another unit of) Mantic Zombies! (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

This is what I’d planned for my Spooky Halloween post! Zombies! Yes, I finished these that long ago. Instead, it’s my Christmas Eve post, because… Zombies?

In any case, best wishes for Christmas to all the regular readers of this blog, and people who stumble across this post later on down the line will simply have to accept them as a snapshot in time.

Now that I have some time off work, I’ll be able to take photos more frequently, and so once the small backlog of painted stuff is gotten rid of, I’ll be much more up to date. I’ve got a couple of mat reviews I’m keen to get onto as well, but it won’t be until next week that I get a chance to go out to the War Room and start cleaning it up (which it needs, bigtime!)

So anyway, these guys were started right on the heels of the second dozen zombies I painted for KoW, back around May. While the plan originally called for a fourth set to follow these – making either 4 regiments or 2 hordes in KoW terms, my Zombienthusiasm is pretty much completely sapped now, as opposed to fired up after finishing the first dozen Zombies. The Mantic figures are nice ones, but there are so few interesting combinations, even with Mantic’s Ghoul parts thrown into the mix.

Mantic Games Zombies, WGF Warlord Zombie Vixens

As you can see, I went even further afield for kitbash parts on these guys. The additional parts beyond the Mantic Ghouls this time came from Mantic’s Sci-Fi zombie sprue, the new(ish) Citadel Ghouls, and two crawlers drawn from Wargames Factory’s Zombie Vixen set who can be seen at either extreme of the crawlers above. I wanted a little bit of gender representation, and the closest I could really find were the WGF set, which is, well, a little average. The figures are a little bit too sexualised overall, but more importantly are verrry spindly compared to even the Mantic models, so the only ones that really were able to fit in were a couple of crawlers.

Mantic Games Zombies, WGF Warlord Zombie Vixens

As you can see above, I finally found that errant model that went missing from the very first dozen, and so he got finished as well alongside these guys – next to his twin. I guess the next batch will only need to be 11 zombies, then. My favourite amongst these 5 has to be the one reaching for the sky. I rotated the “base” and added a bloodied femur out front this time to give a different “sitting down” look rather than just going with the usual crawler setup as I did with the wonder twins next to him.

Mantic Games Zombies

The second rank has what are probably two of my favourite zombies of all the ones I’ve painted. The gruesome fellow dragging along half of a well-chewed corpse, and one I call “go home zombie, you’re drunk!”. The stein comes from a plastic GW dwarf kit while the arm-with-meal comes from the current GW zombie kit, as does the ruined face which fits zombies much more than ghouls for me at least.

Mantic Games Zombies

The legs on the two leftmost models both come from Mantic’s sci-fi zombies kit, but they’re generic enough to fit in here. I’ve continued to simply use dark grey/black rags for my zombies rather than a more realistic option of mixed clothing for equal parts “night horror” and “army colours” reasons.

Mantic Games Zombies

Finally, we have the rear rank. An overly-hunched over female sci-fi zombie torso and head, another dismembered pair of legs (because I am nothing if not economical with my model parts!), another sci-fi zombie torso mounted on fantasy legs and super-dynamic zombie. Unfortunately I couldn’t get the camera low enough to really capture the details of all their heads and faces. The sci-fi model chewing on …something is an odd duck, with poorly-defined details, so you’re not quite sure if he has a gigantic mutant mouth or has a normal one and is simply pulling the sinewy muscle up from his hands. I just covered the whole mess in blood in the end and stopped worrying about it.

Mantic Games Zombies

He looks pretty decent from the back, though. Nice bit of spinal detail that once properly gored up makes him a good choice for the rear rank.

Mantic Games Zombies

And now we finish up in the usual manner. Group shot and unit shots. Once I get at least another dozen zombies done, I’ll take another big group shot of the two hordes. After doing a fourth dozen Mantic zombies, I’ll probably do some Citadel zombies and see how a couple dozen of that very different style of model turns out.

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Mantic Games Zombies Kings of War Regiment

Stonehaven Dwarves – Berserker, Undead and Unconscious

Some time ago now, I backed the Stonehaven Miniatures Dwarf Kickstarter. The Kickstarter managed to pretty much deliver on time and provided a rather nice assortment of Dwarven RPG tropes for a very reasonable price. They have run several other campaigns, both before and after but none resonated with me in the way that the Dwarves did, so it’s been the only one I’ve backed, since a bunch of random gnomes, halflings, half-orcs or even elves don’t resonate with me in the way that Dwarves do. They’ve got a nice little line of trolls as well, but at US$20 a pop plus international postage, they’re out of my impulse shopping range. Still, they have a nice range if you’re looking for an RPG-themed model from any of the ranges they offer.

Anyway, this post isn’t here to be an advert. It’s to show some models~!

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf, Berserker Dwarf and Unconscious Dwarf.

The three that I’ve painted so far. I found another trio part-painted in a figure case the other day, so I might get some more done before the end of the year! The Stonehaven models have something about them that’s a throwback to the late ’80’s-early ’90’s. In some ways it adds to their charm and in others it makes aspects of the models quite meh. Many of them are quite “flat” in the same way that many one-piece models of that era were, and while the details are great in some spots, they’re a bit flat and plain in others – particularly on faces, and especially on the females (and that skull above!) They’re nice models, but their sculptors are no Perrys, Prows or Adams.

Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker

Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker – with a Slayer-themed hair colour.

Stonehaven Dwarf Berserker

Rather subtly holding that second axe for the upswing into some fool’s jaw…

This guy was started quite some time ago – probably not long after I received my KS models. For some reason he lagged out, and was finally picked up and completed a few days ago alongside Aenur from the previous update. I went for a Dwarf Slayer look, as I figure that a bit of spiky armour doesn’t preclude the seeking of an honourable death in combat. I tried to add some tonal qualities to his weapons and armour to make them look well used without going down the road of rust and decrepitude. He’ll be incorporated in with the other slayer models I’ve shown and worked on, and will likely have an additional role in my eventual larger dwarf projects.

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf.

Stonehaven Undead Dwarf

Did the sash and twin hammers denote authority before this dwarf met his fate?

Speaking of decrepitude, here’s the Undead Dwarf. The main feature of this model is his arms and armour, to which I’ve tried to make look both uncared-for but still in use. Hence not going to town with the rust effects. The skull sculpt is lacking a little in terms of definition, and I didn’t want to (couldn’t be bothered to) paint in depth in the maxilla, so I painted it “as is”. I do like having some non-human undead, so he’ll probably find a home in the Undead army in some form eventually, as he was started long before I began to raise the undead hordes.

Stonehaven Unconscious Dwarf.

Stonehaven Unconscious Dwarf.

…and still down.

Dead? Knocked out? Drunk? Or just sleeping? That series of questions explains why this unconscious dwarf is painted and simply laid on a round, plain brown base devoid of all “context markers” like blood, grass, weapons, shield or a helm, or even a beer stein. I wanted to keep this fellow as non-specific as possible so that the model can be as flexible as possible. he could lay slain on a battlefield or lying unconscious on the dirt(y) floor of a cell or a dungeon. He could be passed out in the horse stables after way too much boozing. Whether he’s being used to mark the long sleep or just a nap between goblin-slaying, this guy is done!

Reaper Bones II Skeletons

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

I’ve finished some more of my many Reaper Bones figures that fit under the rather broad undead umbrella that I use. No stretch this time, though, as they’re a bunch of skeletons. Originally sculpted by Bob Ridolfi, the Bones versions – somewhat predictably – suffer from mould lines, wobbly weapons and soft details. Still, they’re not the most terrible models and they’re good enough for RPGs or even standard troops on the table.

Reaper Bones 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman

Reaper Bones 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman

As usual, these guys were painted piecemeal over a period of time, mostly at work. They were a bit of an experiment – primed with the spray can and done in the normal manner, they were as sticky as all hell for awhile, but the acrylic paint over the top and the polyurethane spray seems to have settled it down. I skipped the decals on these guys because I didn’t want to “waste” 20-year-old decals on Bones models and instead did the shield designs freehand… and of course they came out far better than decals would have.

Reaper Bones 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman

Reaper Bones 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman

They’re a pretty odd number to make a unit out of, with nine models. Bones II backers got one of each, while they’re now being sold in sets of three of each sculpts. I usually make a regiment from a dozen models, since they work out about right when based on 25mm rounds for the correct footprint of a KoW regiment.

Reaper Bones 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

With nine models here, I’ll just shove the archers out of the front rank, and add a couple of random skeletons to make up the numbers. Turned out I could only find two, but good enough. I’m calling it a done regiment, but if (when) I end up with more random skeletons down the line, I can split or remake these guys into 2-hander, sword and board or archer regiments. For the time being, it gives me a second Undead unit for September’s monthly Tale of Gamers challenge that I’m running on Dakka.

 

The unit is filled out with a couple of spare skeletons. One (the archer) is from Bones 1, and the other is from Dark World, which I’ve mentioned previously. It only gives me 11 so I’ll have to sort out a 12th, but I’m still calling the unit functional for now.

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

Reaper Bones 77237 Skeleton Guardian Archer, 77238 Skeleton Guardian 2H Sword, 77239 Skeleton Guardian Spearman, 77240 Skeleton Guardian Sword, 77241 Skeleton Guardian Axeman, 77242 Skeleton Warrior Sword, 77243 Skeleton Warrior Axeman, 77244 Skeleton Warrior Spearman, 77245 Skeleton Warrior Archer

And finally, as is the norm – the completed unit shots.

I wrote the following thoughts along with one of the first batches of Bones Skeletons I posted, and they’re just as relevant now, so hey.

As models go, like many Bones, these do what they say on the tin, in a very basic manner. I’d really only recommend them for roleplayers. If you’re playing D&D and want some cheap and cheerful skellys for your adventures, then these are a perfectly serviceable way to go. They even work okay if you’re the kind of roleplayer who never paints their models, or just gives them a wash to bring out the detail. For wargamers, there are many better options out there, especially for $2 each/$6 for three. Still, I already owned these, they pass the three-foot test, and they’ve now gone from Unpainted to Painted, and we know that every time a miniature gets painted, a Kitten gets their Wings, so it’s all good.

 

 

 

Brigade Models – Celtos: Fir Bolg Skeletons with Sickles – for Kings of War

I’ve painted up a couple of units of “Fir Bolg” Skeletons from Brigade Models now, and this makes the third. Or the fourth, depending on whether I count those spearmen as one or two units, as they can make for either a Horde or two Regiments. I know I’ve got another 16 archers (two troops of 8) to paint as well, so once I clean up my desk in the next week, I’ll spend some time cleaning the archers up and then hit them with the spray can. This time, we’ve got Skeletons with Sickles.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

A dozen Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Staying with the same colour scheme I’ve used on their predecessors and in keeping with the rest of the army – Red and Black, Iron and Brass, Rust and Verdigris, Cadmium-Red wood – and Bone. The tabards and cloth this time have been given a Par Chevron in red and black.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Standard Bearer, Skeleton Leader with Axe (Sickle) & two champions

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

 

The standard came from one of the other Fir Bolg skeleton sets, and working out how I’d create the banner took a bit of time. Eventually I settled on a cloth banner, cut from the material taken from an old pair of shorts and fixed with PVA. The Hero is actually their Skeleton Leader with Axe model, with the axe cut and trimmed into a sickle of sorts. I painted the second of the two champions with the same Par Chevron, though reversed. I’d like to move him to a different unit down the line, and perhaps replace with a drummer, but another £3.50 for a drummer feels a little steep when the champion – a mod of the same base figure plus two troopers runs £4.00 by comparison. I dunno. I’ll figure it out later. I’d originally planned on giving the two champions different shields as well, but when it came time to complete the command figures, I realised that the shield I’d initially selected would not have looked good angled at 90 degrees, and by then I had already ended up using the last “horned skull” shield on one of the troopers, and didn’t feel like tearing the superglue-and-greenstuff mod apart.

 

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Sculpt #1 of #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Shield view of Sculpt #1

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Sculpt #2 of #2

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Shield view of Sculpt #2

Only two sculpts, unfortunately. I like having one-piece metal sculpts for these models, but I do wish there was a little more variety in the number of sculpts, like there typically was in the Old(Hammer) days. The shields also reveal that rather than having given the models that lack sculpted shields freehand shields, I used some of the old-school, 20-year-old Warhammer Undead shield decals that I found recently. Once again, these guys were painted using the “Warm Bone” method, starting with a cheap cream spray can from the local hardware store – with much of the work done bit by bit during lunch breaks at work. The final work was completed last Monday, so these guys also qualify as my September Undead entry for the Tale of Painters challenge over on Dakka.

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

 

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

Celtos Fir Bolg Skeleton with Sickles

As per usual, the final shots show them off blu-taced down to a regiment base for KoW – which I really need to get around to playing again sometime soon. I’ve not done much tabletop gaming in the last couple of months, as it gets a bit too chilly out in the War Room, and as a result my regular gaming sessions with the group for the past few months have been digital (The Division, Destiny, Dead Island) rather than tabletop-oriented. Hopefully the weather can actually change a little now that Spring is here, and we can get some wargaming and tabletop gaming done again!