High Elf Swordmasters of Hoeth (Gary Morley, 1998) (June-It ’18 Finale!)

High Elf Swordmasters of Hoeth (Gary Morley, 1998)

When I first restarted playing miniatures games “properly”, back in September 2013 with the advent of Kings of War, I decided to build two armies that could and would oppose one another, and ideally do them quickly. Those armies were Ogres, and Elves. The Elves would be a mixture of High Elf and Dark Elf and Wood Elf models, and as I built and painted more and more Elves across those three factions for the one force, they would all eventually split off and become their own armies. It seemed from JudgeDoug’s advice that the best list for me to use at that point were the Twilight Kin (Dark Elves). All that was fine, so I got started.

The thing was, I didn’t want my High Elves to look like everyone else’s High Elves. Silver armour with blue trim. It’s a good looking scheme, no doubt, but everyone’s models look like that! Instead, I took inspiration from World of Warcraft (which I was still playing at the time) and their High Elf offshoot, the Blood Elves. I’m not going to go into their convoluted background here, suffice it is to say that they look aesthetically pleasing and also different enough to the standard.

So I did that.

High Elf Swordmasters of Hoeth (Gary Morley, 1998)

I actually smashed through most of the first unit fairly quickly, only stalling out when I got to the command group. I wanted to make the musician look cool, I wondered if I should do something special with the Champion’s cloak, and the standard bearer came with a banner pole that clearly was set up for a pennant-style banner. It’s taken me five years and this challenge to get me to finish them, and even then I tore the first attempt of the banner apart and off the model because it just didn’t work. Foil is fine for standards that hang down, but just does not work for pennants!

High Elf Swordmasters of Hoeth (Gary Morley, 1998)

Since Elves are the finest craftspeople in all the lands in many of our games, I felt that my freehand would not do justice to the fine, fine detail that the pennant needed to be, so it took until recently when I got decal sheets working on my printer to a reasonable quality. And then I had to actually do it. To be blunt, I’m still not happy with the pennant. I feel that it should have a nicer trim, maybe some runes, and any.. OK. I just painted the runes on. Because this figure has been one of the least pleasant models I’ve ever worked on, and I need(ed) to get it to a point where I can look at it and not hate it. Push on through the “wall”, so to speak.

High Elf Swordmasters of Hoeth (Gary Morley, 1998)

So now I’m okay with the standard/pennant bearer. As in, I don’t (well, won’t) immediately aggro up when I see the model (well, give it a week to get to that point). It did take adding the freehand runes tonight to it to get it to that point that I can bear to look at it, but since it was (briefly) finished in time, I’m still going to call it a June-Unit. The three Warhammer-Elven runes, from left-right are Asur, Oriour and Sarathai, so sort-of translate as The Eternal Flame, Blood and Birth, and the World Dragon, fitting in with the Blood Elf racial themes. And also looking alright. I’m still not super-pleased with it, since it should have some edging and trim, but the Blood Elven winged shield didn’t leave much (any) room for edging, and it was all made more complicated by the pennant shape needing to be cut to shape after being glued onto the model.

Awesome Blood Elf iconography by #ransparent on Deviantart

The models here are the 1998 Swordmasters, which replaced the formerly-Marauder Miniatures sculpts from 1991-2. Gary Morley gets a lot of (well-deserved) shit for Nagash (despite the story behind it, see below) and some of the other ham-handed sculpts that he turned out over the years, but this range of High Elves that he worked on are quality figures.

Anyway, this is the last of my June-It units to show. The next three posts will be my personal monthly round-up, my own June-It Round-Up, and the Community June-It Round-Up. Apologies to all involved that it’s taken so long, but RL has been pretty full-on this last week and kept pushing me back as what I need to get done has taken longer to do than I’d have liked (and turned out to be more work to boot!)

The Nagash Story:

The webpage I first read about it has been lost to time, but I found a transcript buried in a forum thread about unrelated models, so copypasta time! This is quoted as being Gary’s own words. Obviously I have no way to confirm this 100%, but here it is…

…. the story on the Nagash, model… is this; 

It was my first big Multi-part mini I had ever attempted. and it certainly 
went through many versions in sculpting. (In those days concept drawing 
were very sketchy and I had very little input.) But only one version ever made it to the 
moulds. However, there are two head versions the original head was based 
on the design that i was given, a more Zombie looking type. And that was the one 
that my design manager and I (at the time) prefered. But at that time all miniatures 
had to be approved not only by the design studio, but also by the sales management. 

This is where it came un-stuck! They did’nt like it, and prefered to have a Skull,…? 
Much to my dislike. Now because of release dates and schedules I had one day to put it ‘right’. So preffering the original I went ahead and made the alternative. Now, I never thought for one moment thought that they would approve the (laughing clown) skull and would revert back to the original. 
The Joke back-fired. And to my horror it was approved and they released it! 

Throughout my time at GW I know i made some sculpts that I was not that happy with. 
But, Nagash has been the one model that Haunted me all through my time there. 
(AND IT STILL DOES!) 
And vowed that I would re-make before I left. However, that was never to be. 

I am working on my own version but will prolly not see the light of day until next year. Stands approx 70mm tall and will be cast in around 20 parts. 

Blood Bowl was my favorite game at GW. Shame they never wanted to push it further. I would have love to have seen a Necromunder version. 

Citadel Grave Guard – As Kings of War Wights (Neglected Model May ’18)

Citadel Grave Guard 6th Edition Vampire Counts

A (little) bit of a break from WarZone models today, however briefly (I have another two close to finished, so hopefully can get them done and posted over the next two days.)

A couple of years ago, around about September 2014 – I bought a whole bunch of Undead off Nerdfest over on Dakka. Amongst those were a bunch of Spirit Hosts which I rebased individually got got up and done within a day of receiving them. These models… not so much.

Blister photo via eBay.

Part of the Vampire Counts range from the early 2000’s, 2004-05 being the earliest reference I can easily find, they seem to have come in very specific blisters, since I keep finding the same trio when I was looking to find out more details about these models. That makes them models from the 6th Edition, so they could easily date back from as far as 2001, which was when the 6th Edition Warhammer Armies: Vampire Counts book was released.

Citadel Grave Guard 6th Edition Vampire Counts

Anyway, when I got them I thought they were decent models that could be pretty simply painted up. I suggested to Marouda that they’d be good models for her to paint up. She never showed much interest, so I got started on them myself. Of course, I didn’t exactly get them done quickly. I felt that as a trio of models that are quite different to everything else I have in sculpt style, and a re a bit bigger than the norm, I thought they could work well enough as a unit of three Wights in Kings of War. With that in mind, I mounted them on 32mm bases as opposed to the 25mm bases they came with. Wights are (now) on 40mm bases, but I’ll just build them a unit tray-base for KoW with the correct 40x120mm footprint.

Later.

Lord of the Rings Barrow-Wights. Yeah, that “OSL” is incredibly rough, but it was my first ever attempt.

Similarly, their paint scheme was informed by the scheme I used on the other unit of Wights, which is made up of two Lord of the Rings Barrow-Wights and a single Army of the Dead plastic model in the same paint scheme. Spectral blue-green robes (yes, these are more blue-blue-green than the previous set), metal weaponry and armour, and the creature inside looking roughly how they might look that far into their death.

Citadel Grave Guard 6th Edition Vampire Counts

So here, I’ve followed that with the robes, but the leather coifs and cuirass straps looked a bit silly in spectral blue-green, so instead I went with dark grey instead, over other choices like leather browns. Being in that awkward space between the metal armour and the spectral cloth, dark grey-black was good enough to fit in without drawing too much attention to it.

Citadel Grave Guard 6th Edition Vampire Counts

Shields came from a mid-point range of GW’s Chaos Warriors. Following the old-school, Realm of Chaos models with their open-hole shields but before the range went all-plastic. Given the skull-tastic designs on all three, I nicked them out of my shields tub for these undead fellows instead.

“…and My Axe!” Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors

Battle for Skull Pass – AKA the Warhammer Fantasy Battle 7th Edition Starter Box.

In November last year, for some reason I got it into my head to delve into one of my figure boxes and paint up a bunch of Dwarves. Specifically, to go through and paint a bunch of the Battle for Skull pass plastics that I’d picked up from eBay, WargamerAU and my mate, Damo. I think the idea popped into my brain since I’d been painting and finishing a few Slayers around the time and getting stuck into other random dwarves (which I’ve been sharing recently).

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors

Skull Pass Dwarves in Horde Mode.

By mid-November, I’d actually gathered them up, and selected the figures I was going to paint, and then got into them properly over December. Batch painted, they’re no works of art, but since there were 40 of them and work cranks itself up around November into December, I didn’t get them finished before work broke up for Christmas, as was the plan. All because of their overly-complex sculpted shields. After a few days of rest, I got stuck back into them again, but Marouda bought me Watch Dogs 2 which then proceeded to eat all of my time after I installed it and started playing it. I seriously played for near-17 hours the day I properly started it. From 8am until 1am. Sure, that’s with breaks, but still… I’m almost done with the game now, and I don’t even play it every day to get it done. A couple more hours and it should be done.

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors

Skull Pass Dwarves ranked on movement trays. With a few spares for later…

These were a pretty quick and simple job for me, though every element is still highlighted and shaded, I did so with an intent of making a solid tabletop standard, rather than my usual care. At one point, I decided that I wanted them to look more work and war-weary than some of the others. Like they’ve been on campaign rather than having just left the keep in freshly washed uniforms. This was because I’d been looking at my unassembled boxes of Warlord’s Napoleonic French Line Lancers while washing my brushes (which I’d bought to turn into some sort of not-Brettonian army).

Napoleonics with helmets instead of big hats? Colour me slightly interested…

I got to thinking about how Napoleonic uniforms in miniature form always seem so bright, perfect and pristine when the actuality would have been much more filthy and worn. Like in that Napoleon show with Boromir Stark in it. With that percolating in my mind, I decided to hit them all with a brown wash, but then brighten up their axes, helms and paint the shields last – as I felt that Dwarves would always look after their wargear above all else.

Alec Trevelyan and friends, showing off the always-pristine uniforms of the period.

I mentioned the shields earlier. They were a hassle, and basically the reason these figures weren’t finished in December 2016, which would have broken my 2015 record/target and not caused me to fail to submit in the final month of the Tale of Gamers challenge I ran on Dakka. Of course there were other reasons. Watch Dogs 2 and burnout/exhaustion from working every day of the week for a period at the end of the year, but the shields were the final hurdle.

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors, Oldhammer Norse Dwarf

The Old and the New, united by a colour scheme and shield design.

If I were painting these models with no “history”, I’d probably have simply painted the Hammer-and-Anvil motif a nice bronze, much like the Dwarf-Mask bling on the Standard bearers. The thing is, when I started to paint the models, I realised that the same design was much older, and is featured on the (Marauder Miniatures) Dwarf Shields that one of my old, Oldhammer Norse dwarves has (and I have a few of these shields left to break out). Since I wanted the new to fit in with the old, being from the same clan(s), I wanted to make sure that they matched. Which meant going from a simple paint/wash/drybrush scheme to one that needed 10 different colours/applications. While keeping it simple. When doing it to almost 40 models, that takes time. Bleugh.

Citadel Games Workshop Battle for Skull Pass Dwarf Warriors, Oldhammer Norse Dwarf

My freshly painted BFSP Dwarves, led by an Oldhammerer Dwarf.

What’s next for the Dorfs? Well, I appear to (almost) have a complete BFSP set between the various secondhand sets I’ve purchased. I’m just short the Dwarven rifles, so I’m going to see if I can get another unit or two painted before I burn out on Dwarves…

The Battle For Skull Pass Dwarves.

(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

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

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

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!

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

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.

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

Citadel Miniatures Lord of the Rings Painted Gondor Army

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.