Lord of the Iron Hills: Dain Ironfoot for Middle Earth!

“I always found Thorin the more reasonable of the two…”

Dain on his so-called ‘Rocket Sausage’ and on foot. They are both mean models, but fun to paint!

Dain Ironfoot! What a character. In the books he is a typically stoic dwarven lord, coming to his cousins aid during the bloodless Siege of the Lonely Mountain. But, despite my many issues with the Hobbit film trilogy, casting Billy Connolly was inspired. He added a certain roguish charm to the character, perhaps a little too bloodthirsty, but certainly memorable.

When I bought my Iron Hills many years ago, Dain Ironfoot was a major purchase. He is an expensive ‘Character Series’ model, and came in a special box and everything. With such a pedigree, a certain hesitance came when it was time to paint him. One does not want to mess up a very expensive and gorgeous model. And he is indeed riddled with small detail, all cast in sharp relief.

But, I’m slowly learning that painting doesn’t have to be to anybody’s standard but my own, and given the massive momentum I have going painting my Iron Hills, Dain Ironfoot was going to have to be painted. While I have my preferred version of him now that I have the ‘Old’ Dain, King Under the Mountain, painting this Lord of the Iron Hills version will give me many options when I go to play.

Lets see how I got on!

First up, the mounted version. I painted the boar first, and almost messed up right away by painting it light brown! Luckily I saw a picture from the movie and course corrected right away.
I painted his snout a brighter colour then a lot of people, just to add a lot of contrast.
His saddle is full of beautiful embossed detail.
I can’t harp on enough about how cool the saddle is!
In contrast, the body was actually easier. I made sure to paint his beard ‘tusks’ nice and bright. They are a stand out feature of his face.
His base is rather simple, but I added a flower tuft for some visual interest.
From the front, a view my opponents will hopefully see a lot. He’s not perfect, but I’m happy with him.

Now his foot model actually looks a lot like the actor, so I had to work really hard to maintain that detail. He wasn’t particularly difficult to paint to my very firmly tabletop standard, with the exception of the face.

On foot, Dain is almost just as dangerous. He has discarded his helmet.
I’m pretty bad at highlighting, but I highlighted as best I can on his face. The ‘tusks’ remain present and had to be nice and bright.
His back was a dawdle though, simply being a very nicely detailed but easy to paint fur cloak.
His warhammer I painted red, but I found painting the detail on it beyond the skills of my shaky hands, so I left it that colour. I still think it looks cool!

With this centerpiece model done, that simply leaves 15 Iron Hill Dwarves. 3 of those are the separate pack they sell with optional shields, meant to be used as dismounts for the Goat Riders. I was planning on fielding them as spear-dwarves, but a look at my army list told me that I was distinctly lacking in speed. A single set of 3 Goat Riders would actually help me with objectives, so I’m holding those 3 dwarves in reserve as dismounts now. Of course, with the Goat Riders being quite dear in price, that will have to wait for a little bit.

12 Iron Hills Warriors is not an insurmountable obstacle to paint, and so I will press on and get them done in short order. I cannot wait to paint King Dain, and will feature that when he gets done as soon as I can! I’ve seen some beautiful models painted already, so lots of inspiration in the wild for me to draw from.

And with that, a lazy Saturday’s painting is done! I hope you like him, and if you have an critiques I’m all ears. Happy War-gaming wherever you are. Yanâd Durinul!

Du Bekar! Yet more Dwarves for Middle Earth!

To Arms! The Iron Hills army grows!

14 more Durin’s Folk for the Battle of Dale. Its all coming together…

I’ve been a very busy hobbit today. As I don’t have much to do during Lockdown, I decided to get another Iron Hills warband done!

I’ve talked at length before about the Iron Hills models, but I must say if your a newcomer here; One, great models with loads of detail that I’m definitely underselling with my paint job, and Two….don’t glue the shields on! By Durin don’t! It makes them monumentally harder to paint. But, a little perseverance goes a long way, and I slogged through and got them done.

Lets take a closer look!

A mighty block of shields indeed! Not much will want to charge this head-on!
As before, nothing too fancy. The shields honestly paint themselves with a wash.
With this many spearmen(spear-dwarves?) I’m definitely set. I could use more mattocks and crossbows…
They look pretty decent, but again a more experienced hand could probably elevate these models. Still, I’m happy with them and that is what matters.
A lot of similar poses, but differing the beard colour helps. It does mean they rank up quite nicely…
This Captain doesn’t want to remain in the shieldwall, he wants to get stuck in!
A simple cloak marks his rank, along with his helmet. Other then that not much distinguishes them from the rank and file armour wise, which I like. This is a professional army.
The banner has…interesting embossed detail. I definitely prefer the other design, but this looks okay too.
And with a shield he can stand in the ranks and not break Shieldwall, which is nice.

Another 14 Dwarves done, which means I have 28 battle-ready! And boy, do they look the business when all ranked up together!

Add in a block of mattocks and crossbows and this will be a nasty force to fight, even more so then it already is!

I almost wish they were on square bases to rank even closer together…

Now, this morning I posted a product review of the new ‘Old’ King Dain that will be leading the force, alongside his son Thorin III. But I wasn’t pleased with the good kings base, being just a boring 25mm base. So I fixed that in the most traditional way possible; I stuck him on a rock!

A small rock will paint up to be a much bigger rock. Sure, King Dain is a bigger target now, but he leads from the front, even at his venerable age.

This caps off a very busy hobbying day for me, with helping my friend get his blog off the ground and my review this morning. But I think I have earned a break…I say as I eye the rest of the ever-shrinking pile of unpainted dwarves…

I’m in the home stretch now!

There is always more hobbying to be done, and I cannot yet rest upon my laurels until this batch is done! One final effort, but I may leave younger Dain for a day all by himself. He is a very nice model.

Anyways, that is the last of what I got for today! I hope you enjoyed the read! Leave a comment if you liked what you saw, or have any criticism. Happy War-gaming wherever you are on this good (Middle) Earth of ours, and have a great day!

The King Under The Mountain: A Review of King Dain from Forgeworld!

The Ironfoot King, prepared to stand against Sauron and his minions!

Saying ‘no’ to Sauron in style! Lots of gold armour in my future…

It has been a while since I have done a product review. I generally shy away from them. But I haven’t seen much said about these models online yet and they were released not that long ago, so for once I am ahead of the curve!

This set includes King Dain Ironfoot and his son Thorin III Stonehelm. They are in that great Forgeworld resin, which I must say having worked on their kits for a while it has improved drastically. It cuts like butter, and is fantastic to work on. But some caution is needed to not cut away important detail!

They had little flashing, but it was there. Easily cleaned up with a hobby knife! No warping, but given the small size of the parts that was to be expected. Extremely clean casts with no fuzzy detail. As we would hope given the price!

Great looking models, and easily built too!

The kit comes with a few parts, but nothing too difficult to put together. The armour detail is great, taking notes from both the Iron Hills and Erebor. King Dain still has his signature ‘tusks’ in his beard, a really nice touch! His warhammer has been replaced with Barazantathul, his famous Red Axe, which pleases me to no end. It is a lovely throwback to the original King Dain model from the early 2000s. For reference, this was his old model…

Dwarf Lords Dain & Balin | Miniset.net - Miniatures Collectors Guide
King Dain on the Left. While the new model has an entirely new look, he did have an axe! I’m glad its back!

Thorin III looks great too, with a really detailed shield. I probably shouldn’t have glued the shield on, but unlike the Iron Hills warriors, I can still reach behind to paint it. His pick looked a bit thick in the photos Games Workshop put out, but looks a lot better ‘in hand’.

Still has his ‘tusks’! A lovely fur cloak adds a hint of class, but his armour reminds you that he is a Dwarf King, ready to defend his hold.
Excellent, crisp detail on the cloak!
Thorin III looks great, and while I got the set primarily to get King Dain, this model will definitely see use as well!
And the detail on the armour is fantastic. A lot of hints of both Iron Hills and Erebor in its design.

All in all, I am quite happy with these models! My friend is lending me a can of Retributor Armour Spray, which will give these dwarves the gold armour they need. But that will mean waiting a month….which given how cool these models are might mean I paint them sooner!

There is no scale creep, and they fit amongst the Iron Hills warriors I have really well! I might need another warband for Thorin to lead, probably with crossbows and mattocks to add a bit of variety to my list.

Looking just right compared to the warriors they will be leading into battle!

I can’t wait to field them in a game soon! My project to do the Battle of Dale is that much closer to being done with the addition of these two models. I really hope they bring out a King Brand to go with the Dale models…

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed/got what you needed from this review. I will post again soon when they are painted! But for now, Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!

An Old Dream, Long Remembered: Childhood Goals in Dark Times

A new, grand goal.

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
-JRR Tolkien

Fair warning, this is minis lite: This is something I plan to do, not currently have ready! It reads more like an essay. This is the beginnings, the first steps…the first stones that start an avalanche. It’s not going to be for all of you! And that’s okay. Its a bit depressing too, at first.

It has been a rough year for all of us. Between Covid, Lockdowns, Quarantines, Restrictions, one could get tired of it all. I can be tough to cope.

Frodo Baggins' entire backstory explained
Buckle up Frodo, you got a long way to go!

For myself, especially, and for the first and last time I’ll mention on this blog, it has been a particularly close run thing. My mental health has taken serious blows, and it brought myself closer to the brink then I’d like to admit. Let me be perfectly blunt. I’m happy to be alive. I’ve come out of the darkness with a pretty renewed sense of purpose, drive, and motivation to not let the little things pass-me-by.

J. R. R. Tolkien quote: I will not say, do not weep, for not all...
Sometimes a hard-lesson is the only way to learn what matters.

In the midst of all of this, Games Workshop quietly announced Quest for the Ringbearer, a supplement for the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game. Having received my copy yesterday, I finally got a chance to sit down, and read it. A pretty good supplement, barring some minor spelling errors and potential rules gaffes. The campaign is akin to the journeybooks of old, but updated for the most current ruleset and party to some of the more balanced versions of the included scenarios I’ve seen.

Middle-earth SBG - Dunlendings - Page 34 - Forum - DakkaDakka | Roll the  dice to see if I'm getting drunk.
Finally, worthy tomes exist to replace these great but long since out of print epics

If it was just that, I’d have been happy, but included were a couple additional treats; a full fantasy Fellowship campaign modification, and most crucially to me, an up to date way to fight ALL of the Fellowships battles using all currently released books. This is something brand new, and very exciting!

War Comes to Rohan™! - Warhammer Community
This, and the Gondor at War book, complete the whole Trilogy of epic content.

Indeed, it brings me back to a childhood dream of a much younger version of me, twinkles in his eyes and full of naivety as I fought battles across my living room floor. I wanted to do the books AND the movies justice, nailing the feel of both. A full Fellowship playthrough, with bespoke terrain, painted armies, and good company.

I dreamed in my youth of taking the Fellowship, all parts of it, across Middle-Earth on an adventure to end an age.

For the first time in living memory, I have both the drive and willpower to see it through. I have the collection my thirteen year old self couldn’t even dream of owning. I have many good friends willing to go on an adventure, lending me their Sword, Bow, or Axe to the cause. From Bag-End to Mount Doom, from Rivendell to Rohan and Gondor, to the Black Gate itself.

I'm Going On An Adventure! | Know Your Meme
Adventures are better with friends!

It fills me with joy and excitement, something that can be difficult to muster in this age of uncertainty. It could take years for me to complete such an undertaking. It could see missteps, mistakes. But yet my excitement holds true. I work best with a goal, however distant, in mind.

The man I have become these last few years isn’t the one I thought I’d be, better or for worse. But for the kid I was, that happy go lucky pre-teen who broke the seal on the Return of the King Starter Box back in 2003….I’ll follow Frodo and Aragorn’s journeys across Middle Earth. A dream, now a future.

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And its WORTH fighting for.

I hope you good folks out there can forgive a man getting a few things off his chest, and finding hope in the smaller things in life. I don’t like to dwell on such unhappy, if motivational topics, and your regularly scheduled dose of wargaming content will continue on Wednesday evening! But in the mean time, Happy Wargaming where-ever you might be, and may you find some inspiration in the strangest places!

To battle, Sons of Durin!

As I mentioned in my last post, I did a joint Forge-World order with a friend recently. Weirdly, and something I didn’t expect, I didn’t actually want anything 40k related at the time, as I felt I had everything my army could possibly use. That left Lord of the Rings. Now, as a massive fan of the book, the Hobbit movies didn’t impress me. It didn’t feel as quality as Lord of the Rings, and felt like a cash-in. However, I did enjoy the Dwarves, as we didn’t see much of them in either the books or the movies of the Trilogy.

GW have over the years, tried their hand at making Dwarves for the SBG, and while some units I think look fantastic, such as the character models, Vault Wardens, and Khazad Guard, the others looked very generically fantasy, very safe and I was never really drawn to them. It was clear that since they only had Gimli and the dwarves at the council of Elrond to draw inspiration from, they hadn’t put as much time into it as Weta did for the films, and it showed in the generic nature of the rank and file models.

When the Hobbit movies came out, I was initially very happy with them, despite the changes made, and this was mostly because Weta had finally been able to turn their incredible talent towards Durins Folk, and the culture and style finally gave GW something to work with. The Warriors of Erebor kit, and the Grim Hammers, look awesome, and feel very true to the movie materiel (if not the books, where plate was unheard of, and everyone seemed to wear mail armor). The other two movies didn’t impress me though, and with the game dying out anyway, I didn’t invest in Dwarves at the time. Cue Forge World.

Forge World took over the Middle Earth SBG around a year after the Battle of Five Armies release, and they took the chance to bring out possibly my favorite depiction of dwarves in fiction, Lord Dain Ironfoots Iron Hills warriors. Now, that it a statement I make with some hesitation, as I am NOT a fan of Dwarven cavalry, especially not goats and boars! But the rank and file dwarf, armed with a broad shield and long spear, really captured my imagination. I was delighted when Forge World brought them out, but knew it would be a while before I got any.

I finally got my chance with this order, as with the free shipping over 150, I could really make a solid push to get what I need to play them properly!

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Absolutely crisp, with barely any clean-up. I still washed them, just for good measure.

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A couple bendy spears fixed with a tea-cup of boiling water, and presto, one shieldwall of angry dwarves!

I also got the command. You see very little of the captains in the movie, even in the extended cut, but Weta had done the groundwork, and Forge World took the next step. The banner is seen in the movie, however briefly, and looks fantastic on the model, and has detail embossed on it, which made me very happy! Gamling with his royal standard of Rohan remains unpainted to this day, simply because free-handing that banner is sheer madness!

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Amazing detail on both models!

All in all, I’m very happy with my new Dwarves, and while the plate armor is a definite no-no book-wise, I plan on fielding a force as true to the source material as possible. I’m making an exception for the spears, as they look fantastic, and the Ballista isn’t stretching the idea too much, but I will avoid using the Goat ram-riders, and Dain will be marching on foot! I’ll have placed a second order for another 12 warriors, Dain, and the variant 3-dwarf spear pack. As Dain can now lead 18 models, my captain can lead the rest, and I have a solid little force! I need one ballista to bring it to a competitive level, but that can wait. I have both the Battle of Five Armies and the Battle of Erebor during the war of the ring in mind for this force, and to that end I’ll be converting up an older version of Dain Ironfoot, with his famous red-axe!

Until next time, may Durin watch your back, and Du-Bekar!