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…