Harad Abrakhân Guard

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

“He wondered what the man’s name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace…”
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers Book 4 Ch. 3 “Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit”

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

Amongst my many projects that are theoretically on the go at any given time are usually a bunch of “one at a time”-type things, where I have randomly gotten enthusiastic about a model or even a unit from an army that I haven’t really even begun on, and started painting them. These Harad Abrakhân Guard are an example of that. They took me about 6 months, on and off to get painted – mostly because I’m easily distracted and small amounts of indecision on how to paint an accoutrement can result in literally months of delay before getting back to a model.

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

Harad Abrakhân Guard, Harad Abrakhan Guard, Haradrim, Sounthrons, Lord of the Rings, Citadel

The colour scheme was pretty simple. I wanted to avoid the purple and turquoise seen in GW’s scheme entirely, and instead go for black with a splash of bright red on the sash. I think black keffiyeh/shemaghs always look sharp, so again, that was a no-brainer for me. A bit of gold retained for bling, and the clothing looks pretty good. I painted the flesh tones in a light brown tone, similar to people of Lebanese and Jordanian descent that I work with, since unlike GW until just a couple of years ago, I don’t think everyone in the world has caucasian skin pigmentation. My Tallarn (if I ever finish them) have similar skin colouration to my Haradrim. (I get the TE Lawrence/SAS reference, but I prefer the Bedouin one for them.)

As with a lot of the LotR metal range, these figures do suffer a bit from GW’s “three poses only!” policy, but mixed together in a unit they still manage to look decent.

Finally, the Kings of War-oriented unit shots. Until I get a lot more Haradrim painted – which won’t be anytime soon – these guys will get shoved into one KoW force or another as a unit of some sort of elite humans who hit hard but have light armour. I may also be able to use them as proxies for something in games of SAGA – Crescent and the Cross. Honestly, I haven’t looked hard at that since I’ve got very little Crusade-Era stuff painted right now.

But hey – these guys are done, and I think they turned out pretty well, so it’s all good!

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Madness of Denethor (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Even as Gandalf and Pippin ran forward, they heard from within the house of the dead the voice of Denethor crying : ‘Haste, haste! Do as I have bidden! Slay me this renegade! Or must I do so myself?’ Thereupon the door which Beregond held shut with his left hand was wrenched open, and there behind him stood the Lord of the City, tall and fell; a light like flame was in his eyes, and he held a drawn sword.

Denethor, Steward of Gondor and Lord of the City.

This model is of course a likeness of John Noble as Denethor, Steward of Gondor. Sculpted by one of the Perrys from memory, this figure was released shortly after Return of the King was released, and is now sadly discontinued. It’s quite a good likeness, especially given the truescale nature of the model.

John Noble as Denethor

As Denethor is a rather understated model despite being fairly important in the story of LotR, I wanted to make him stand out in some way – even if he’s far from a must-have combat machine like his sons. I attempted to do so by mounting him on a back-to-base-ix resin base to raise his stature a little above the rank and file of Gondor. I painted the base as stained white stone – perhaps some of the ruins of Osgilliath? A little bit of ivy and a couple of tufts add the little colour to what is otherwise a very monochromatic model.

Denethor, Steward of Gondor and Lord of the City.

Denethor. On his way to the loo.

I started painting Denethor sometime years ago, but never really got far beyond the black. Last year, I started working on him and got his cloak to a point where I was quite happy with it. I then gave it a black wash to bring it back down and unify it, which just fucking wrecked the whole thing. You know when you hear about people having a bad mistake happen to a model and then throwing it in the bin? That kind of thing. More recently, I worked on him a little again, this time stalling out due to still being frustrated by the wash wrecking it last time, but it’s been sitting on my painting desk, and is one of the models I had specifically in mind when starting this challenge. Given the month that it’s been, I decided to work on Denethor this last weekend so I’d have something “legal” finished for the painting challenge in the Gondor category..

Denethor, Steward of Gondor and Lord of the City.

Denethor! Grimly surveying the dead and dying.

 

I’ve tried to replicate Howe’s 5 o’clock shadow and also distinguish the shades of black/grey/white between his cloak, the fur lining and his hair. Howe can look quite pale and gaunt in colour in some stills from the film, though in others his face is much closer to normal. I tried replicating that, but I felt that he was already monochrome enough, so I added a subtle amount of colour back into his face.

Denethor, Steward of Gondor and Lord of the City.

Denethor, gliding across the battlefield.

Aside from obvious scenario-based uses in LotR games, Denethor can also make an appearance with my Army of Gondor on the Kings of War battlefield. Possibly as a “Wizard”, where the Fireball spell could represent Denethor directing artillery fire onto his chosen target, Bane-Chant representing his oratory driving his troops to greater valour on the field of battle, and so forth…

Axemen of Lossarnach

Another unit I’ve just finished, these guys were supposed to be one of those projects that takes a week, at the most. That of course was sometime between 6 months and a year ago. I honestly can’t recall since they’ve basically been a half-finished fixture of my painting table for a long time now. One of the big hold-ups that became a mental block (and then a wall) was my plan to convert one of their number into a Standard bearer for Kings of War. It took long enough to settle on a colour scheme for the unit – I went with red to get a look that is distinctive from the Warriors of Minas Tirith, especially as I find the stock GW scheme rather boring, even if it does fit in well with the WoMT.

Citadel Axemen of Lossarnach

The front rank of Halberdiers. Sorry, “Axemen.”

 

I chose Red for two reasons – since the unit is considered an Elite unit in the GW SBG (despite the background talking of the men of Lossarnach being farmers and such) – and obviously these guys aren’t dressed as a levy of farmers, in their fine plate over the chain. The second is because I’m reserving Blue for the substantial number of Dol Amroth guys I’ll have when the army is finished, and Green for the small “Arnor” contingent, who will either be renamed for another of the Third Age Fiefdoms when not used in scenario play, or will be a “made up” unit of WoMT guard that represents their former kinsmen by wearing their traditional uniform. I might do something in Yellow/Mustard, but I’m not really a fan of that colour as a unit colour on models for whatever reason. It works for me more as an accent. So while I’ve been reliably informed this week by someone who has a pretty thorough knowledge of Tolkien that red probably wouldn’t have been used by Gondorians, I’m going with a combination of artistic licence, the rule of cool (I think they look good) and the fact that they were already painted(!)

Citadel Axemen of Lossarnach

The Second Rank. Are these guys starting to look like some kind of dance party?

I did briefly consider using some form of Tartan for the sashes on these guys, but with the Clansmen of Lamedor also in my painting queue, I decided that I’ve already got enough figures to make me sick of painting Tartan without starting here. Now take a good look at the next picture.

Citadel Axemen of Lossarnach

Okay, it’s *definitely* looking like some kind of traditional dance party now…

Did you look? The red line on the under-surcoat of the leftmost guy being thicker than the others really does bother me for some reason. Did you even notice it?

Anyway, with the upcoming KoW rules having done away with Standards and Musicians in units as things that have their own rules (since in 1E they were overpriced and pretty much just cancelled each other out) and now just going with “model them however you like”, It helped to motivate me to just get these guys off the paint desk and onto the gaming table. I might do a standard bearer for them sometime down the line, but it’s not a priority for the moment.

Citadel Axemen of Lossarnach

Axemen of Lossarnach looking like they’re preparing to receive a charge.

Oh, and the reason that the second and third ranks don’t have any static flock/grass on their bases is simple. I ran out of Matt Varnish, so they’ve got a coat of satin for the time being while I wait for a couple of new cans of anti-shine I ordered to come in. The front rank was finished first, and got some of the Matt before it expired.

Citadel Axemen of Lossarnach

The Men of Lossarnach pose from the front. Spiky!

I’ll try to get a whole-army shot featuring the Gondor units I’ve shown off so far sometime soon. I’m working on some unit leaders for the WoMT Spear and Bowmen that I’m really struggling to get done, and I really want to get those finished first, so hopefully we’ll have the army shots soon.

Citadel Axemen of Lossarnach

The opposite flank of the Axemen.

 Another unit done! Hooray!