Citadel Lord of the Rings – Rangers of Gondor

It’s back to Lord of the Rings models for this post. Showing off some models recently painted, as well as some models a little less so.

Blackroot Vale Archers Command

Hornblowers of Blackroot Vale.

These four – 2 of each sculpt – are the Citadel Blackroot Vale Archers Command. Some of the last waves of metals I bought from Maelstrom Games shortly before GW brought into place the ROW embargo onto UK retailers and customers in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere.

Blackroot Vale Archers Command

Banner Bearers of Blackroot Vale. Or Ithillien.

They’re reasonable models, though the sculpts are nothing special. Solidly on a par with many Historical sculpts – though far more expensive – and not up to the same high standard that much of the LotR range is. It appears that I started them about a year ago, and finally forced myself to get rid of them from my painting desk a couple of weeks ago by knuckling down and completing them. I’m not sure why GW decided to go with the Blackroot Vale moniker, as they’re not really correct for those troops anyway and Faramir’s Rangers lacked a command section for WotR or so forth. In my thinking they’ll be used (thematically) as part of the wider force of the Rangers of Osgilliath.

Blackroot Vale Archers Command

Two command stands, only a year late for their comrades.

They were the final models needed to complete these two units for my Kings of War Army of Gondor. I had thought these were painted earlier this year, but looking through my painting list it seems they were actually finished in July last year – the first batch one day off from a year earlier to their commanders.

Rangers of Middle-Earth.

The troops, made from the Rangers of Middle Earth catch-all plastic box are to be quite blunt – poor models as far as modern HIPS plastic kits go. Softly and mushily detailed, slightly oversized to the rest of the LotR range, and featuring overly-chunky details in their cloaks and clothing. They are a lazy boxed set marketed in a lazy manner – replacing all of the previous metal ranges of rangers. I’m ok with mine – as I got them all second-hand from eBay – and seeing what the sculpts were actually like I decided to paint them with the effort that they deserved. So I used base coats in a series of naturalistic colours, added minimal highlighting, and washed them all in Army Painter Dark Tone (aka Devlan Mud). I did the skin in a speed-paint version of my usual way, and did bother to pick out the eyes, but they’re simple wargame models painted as simple wargame models – not as “nice” pieces. They look good enough and appropriate in a block on the table.

Rangers of Middle-Earth, Blackroot Vale Archer Command

Rangers of Osgilliath.

Rangers of Middle-Earth, Blackroot Vale Archer Command

Rangers of Osgilliath.

I have a bunch of the “proper” metals, and they’ll be painted either this year or next since I want to finish off all of my Gondor (and Moria) stuff ASAP, but for the time being they’re down the priority list while I continue to try and clear other models from my desk. In the meantime if I get around to playing through the LotR scenarios in the SBG books, there’s enough of them painted now to cover most instances from the first several battles they appear in as well as two units for the mass battle KoW tabletop.

Rangers of Middle-Earth, Blackroot Vale Archers Command

2 Regiments or 1 Horde of Gondor’s Finest Rangers.

Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolf Pack.

I picked up 15 of the new(ish) Space Wolves’ Fenrisian wolves off the eBay several months ago. I like the models, but I’m not fond of GW’s current pricing strategy for Australians. There are ways around it of course, and one of those I employ quite frequently these days is picking up a lot of secondhand figures from eBay. It’s also a good way to get metal models, rather than the overpriced Finecrap they’re peddling, though I’ll occasionally get those via eBay as well if the cast appears to be close enough to perfect. Not that this matters here of course, as we’re dealing with secondhand plastics. These ones were already assembled and sprayed when I got them. A little rough around the edges, so a bit of scraping got them in order, and a coat of Army Painter grey to start off my own basecoat. After some “research” time watching Nat Geo and Animal Planet docos, I’ve also seen how grey, black and white wolves seem to co-habitate the same packs, I went for grey wolves for the first batch with the following ones to be black and (probably) white. It also works to split the five unique body sculpts across 15 models, making each one slightly unique. After checking out some photos of them online I worked out how I was going to break down their colours.

Some blending for both the grey fur and the warmer brown tones on the faces. I was actually quite happy with the subtle blending on the grey fur, as well as the grey on the bodies to the browns on the paws at this point, though my WIP photo here is a bit crappy.

Coated with Pledge One Go/Future Floor Wax, for my first attempts at using ink washes, inspired by Chung/Wargamers Consortium’s video that can be found below.

**NOTE  – THIS IS NOT MY VIDEO. CHECK OUT THE WGC CHANNEL FOR GREAT TIPS AND ADVICE.**

Anyway, here they are – finished!

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

The Oil Wash was a good learning experience. I wasn’t completely happy with it, and had to do a little bit of re-blending over the top in places, but overall, the wolves came up well, especially as a quick project. I’m still a little bummed at my nice subtle fur blending being wiped out by the oils, and so it’s not a technique I’ll use for everything going forward, by any means. Still, it’s nice to have another technique that I’m comfortable enough to play with, and as I said, on cheapish eBay figures, it’s not the end of the world. I wonder how Oil Washes would behave on Bones models? Perhaps it would melt them? In the end I also opted to give them somewhat natural looking eyes, rather than (stereo) typical “evil red” eyes.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

Completed Space Wolves Fenrisian Wolves.

I intend to use these wolves (and the other 10, plus all those older-school ones I still need to paint) across several systems. 40k, LotR SBG/WotR, Kings of War, even (maybe) DeadZone if I ever play it (replacing those awful Mawbeasts). I found these wolves to be pretty good, but not quite as nice as I’d hoped. The poses are great (though one did have an accident when Marouda carelessly snapped it off it’s base at the ankle requiring some pin vice surgery and more overpainting – I was well pleased with that) – so as nice and dynamic as they are, the poses are a bit fragile. The tails not being a separate piece, is a nice change from the older models, so they’re less likely to break than the previous wolves. What I’m not so keen on however is the fur on the side of their torsos and upper legs. Clearly a result of digital sculpting rather than more traditional methods, they’ve overlaid a “leaf” pattern of fur (more visible in my first and third photos) rather than sculpting the whole of the bodies in a more traditional manner, as they have for the manes.

Overall, though. I’m happy with the models and the way they turned out. I don’t think the Black Wolves will need an Oil Wash, so they’re just needing to sneak into the paint queue past the Ogres and Elves. The white ones need a bit more than that however. Once they’re all painted, I’ll do some nice shots of the entire pack. Look forward to that in 2014 sometime! Unless a KoW Ogre army has some kind of counts-as provision for packs of wild wolves… 😉