Where there’s a Whip, there’s a Way: The Hosts of Mordor March!

250 models…I should probably start painting some.

Four ‘heroes’ for the Hosts of the Dark Lord.

My Mordor army has been a part of my collection since at least 2003. It started off small, just a small force of Mordor Orcs that came in the Return of the King starter box. But over the years it has ballooned massively, especially with the addition of Morannon Orcs over the years, both independently and with the addition of the Pelennor Fields boxset when that came out.

However, the painting side of things has been dragged out for almost as long. Few models had been painted, and none of those based. This was a situation that had to be rectified if I wanted to ever play them properly.

I chose to start with painting one entirely new model, the Orc Taskmaster, and three models I touched up slightly and based.

So with this playing in the background…

Oh yeah, so this exists. God bless the 1980’s!

So without further fluff, lets take a peek.

First up, a Mordor Orc Captain. This model is long OOP, and is a fantastic sculpt, chock full of great detail.
Pardon my hands, but the light doesn’t catch the face all too well otherwise. I love the scavenged Minas Tirith armour, and the gruesome severed head on the belt.
The shield is also a great touch, and yep, that is another severed head. This model has more character then a lot of the more recent FW captains!
Another OOP model, a Morannon ‘Orc’ Captain. I found this model looked more like an Uruk Hai, which another blogger(long since forgotten unfortunately) also had done. He is still being fielded as an Orc Captain though.
The nice, spiny armour takes a wash really well. I didn’t touch up this model much, it was pretty good to start with.
Some detail I hand-painted years ago, which I kept.
Its Skully! The name the character has is Guritz, but he will forever be Skully in my mind. This is literally the third iteration of the model I have, and the only one that was made specifically to represent the Movie character.
Lots of great detail on this FW model, but that isn’t altogether too surprising.
The first entirely new model I painted today, an Orc Taskmaster. This is a metal model, and I believe he is still available, albeit it in Finecast.
This guy definitely has eaten well in Mordor. Meat perhaps is back on the menu?
This model is based of the Orc ‘inspector’ that almost finds Frodo and Sam in Return of the King. I didn’t take too long trying to copy the film version, and just went with colours that I felt worked really well.

Not too much work, but a nice fun distraction. I’m looking forward to painting more, but I’m avoiding burnout as best as possible so no masses of the same thing being painted days on end.

Just a short post today, I hope you enjoyed the read! Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and have a great day!

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!

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!

Captain of the Guard: Irolas for the Middle Earth SBG!

“It is as Lord Denethor predicted! Long has he forseen this doom!”

Captain of the Tower Guard, ready to defend the Steward of Gondor, no matter the cost.

Most of the models I paint for the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game originate from the books, but not all of them. This is one of those examples. Irolas, the Captain of the Citadel Guard is one part Film creation, and other part Games Workshop fitting the character into a role that needed filling. Beregond, the main Tower Guard soldier in the books, didn’t make it into the film, which is unfortunate because his relationship with Pippin is so wholesome.

While Beregond exists as a model, and I will get to him, Irolas is a beautiful Forgeworld sculpt. He comes as part of a two-pack with a re-sculpted and updated Denethor model, and was the part of that pack I was most excited to paint. His stoic pose perfectly matches the older metal Citadel Guardsmen, and he will look great leading 12 of them in my games.

The yellow trim is something you see a lot of on the Games Workshop Citadel Guard, a pragmatic adaptation of film embroidery to something more easily applied to a model. I might get a paint pen down the road to add a little detail to the trim down the road, but as it stands I do not have a small enough brush nor the fine motor control to do so as of yet.

He wasn’t an especially difficult model to paint, with the exception of his face. I decided to give him a bit of stubble, and that took a little while to achieve. Again I eschewed painting eyes, but his face seemed to repel the wash and it took a while for it to finally settle.

Lets take a closer look!

The yellow trim was tricky to paint with my shaky hands, but I gave it my best shot.
His armour was done much the same as I would do any of my Minas Tirith warriors, and was nothing too special. Much of the model is enveloped in a nice cloak, so I focused my attention on that and the face.
While not intentional, I do like the ‘tired’ look he has. Denethor can be a handful! As well, I like to imagine that Irolas is losing sleep because of the great battle that will soon take place, and is running a bit ragged at this point out of fear and doubt. *I have since touched up his glove.
Some simple shading brought out the depth in the cloak, and the yellow trim gives it a bit of pop.

Irolas was a fun model, painted in a few hours while chatting with friends online. I have managed to convince one of my friends to play, and I’m looking forward to getting some games in post-lockdown. Between my Minas Tirith and Iron Hills armies I have a tough, dependable force no matter which I choose. I might restart work on my Mordor force to have an opposing force ready, or start on my Easterlings.

Well, that is all I have more today. A nice short and sweet post! I’ll have more for you in the coming days. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and have a great day!

The Flawed Hero: An Old Model, Finally Painted!

“Our people, our people. I would have followed you, my brother… my captain… my king.”-Boromir, Fellowship of the Ring.

“The city of Osgiliath has been reclaimed. For Gondor!”-Boromir, The Two Towers Extended Edition

Oh Boromir. Our flawed and noble hero. In our clubhouse, he is unfortunately the butt of many jokes. But myself and a few other staunch fans constantly defend him. He is a great character, and on the tabletop for Middle Earth he is a powerhouse. He comes in two versions; a Fellowship version, corrupted by the Ring, and a Minas Tirith version, at his apex of power before setting off for Rivendell.

This model is the latter version, and I have had him for years. I never got around to painting him as I was intimidated by the complexity of some of the detail, but after my recent painting successes I decided to give him a go. He might be the vanguard of the rest of the Minas Tirith army, which has been in various states of half-painted, or done to my standard of ten years ago, which won’t fly now.

I also have him with a banner and on horse, so those might follow. He is a beast on horse, and the banner is special to him…but has no embossed detail! A tough task to free-hand for sure!

Lets take a look at this noble son of Denethor.

I looked at many production stills, but the model differs in a lot of ways to the movie version. So I took some creative liberties, especially with the gold-trim on his shoulder armour and his tunic.
The shield, being a one off, I decided to mix Vallejo Flat Brown and Scarlet to make a reddish toned shield. I only need to do it once afterall!
The cloak I could have done a brighter colour, but given the decline of Gondor and their overall muted colour scheme, I went for a grey-black.
I can’t paint eyes to save my life, but I did his beard and shaded his face. It looks alright from a distance.

Boromir is one of my favourite characters from the Lord of the Rings. A flawed man, but one that saw his downfall not from just greed, but a desire to do good for his people. He is often maligned as a traitor, when instead his final acts were to protect Merry and Pippin, and to die in the attempt. His retribution and atonement wrapped up in a little neat bow.

When I first saw the extended cut of The Two Towers, his speech was captivating. This was the real Boromir, not the one wracked by doubt and fear. An indomitable hero of the White City. And he immediately goes to the defense of his younger brother, Faramir, when their father goes to rebuke Faramir for letting Osgiliath fall. His men love him, and his charisma among the soldiery of Gondor is obvious.

While we only got a few minutes of seeing this, true Boromir, we can luckily field him in the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, where he is a peerless warrior. Not quite the equal of Aragorn, he can easily lead a pre-fellowship Minas Tirith army and carry the day with his amazing stat-line and upgrades.

I look forward to seeing his heroics on the tabletop, leading a vanguard of Minas Tirith warriors while his ranger brother provides archery cover.

Well, that is all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this look at Lord of the Rings flawed Hero. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and have a great day!

Ironfoot Artillery: A Ballista for the Iron Hills!

“Ya hear that, lads? We’re on! Let’s give these bastards a good hammering!”

A very cheesy option for the gaming table, but a very pretty model to build and paint!

When I got my Iron Hills army, I of course added a ballista to the roster. Now, I didn’t actually like what it did in the movie; the ‘Old Twirly Whirlies’ were really dumb and I didn’t like it then, and I don’t like what it does on the table either.

However, a cool looking model it remains, and is an excellent centerpiece for an Iron Hills list. As well, the rules do benefit the otherwise static nature of the army. It is very strong so I don’t intend to have more then one.

It remains a beautiful mode, with deep wood-grain on the carriage. I had begun painting it years ago, finishing the carriage back in 2018. However, I stopped short of doing the crew for whatever reason, I don’t remember why. I needed a quick and easy project for the day, and so I brought it out of storage and knocked out the crew in about 45 minutes. Lets have a look at the completed project!

I decided to glue two of the crew figures to the ballista, which will make ingame book-keeping harder but looks better.
The crew does look pretty animated once they were done, and I’m pretty happy with the completed effect.
This crewman is doing…something with his hands. Not sure what!
If anything, these models were a lot easier then the warriors. Easy to access all their parts for painting, with no large shield in the way!
The Iron Hills Siege Veteran, a solid choice to lead the crew, but can be swapped for a Captain. I like the pose, it is very commanding!
The armour has a lot of subtle detail that I really like. A better painter can probably make it pop a lot better!

All in all, a fast paintjob and a solid chunk of points done in a one sitting. I’m looking forward to getting more of the Iron Hills painted in-between my other projects. The Battle of Dale is fast approaching…perhaps some Easterlings will cross my desk in the near future.

The Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game is near and dear to me, so expect more content beyond just Iron Hills models in the near future. Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and may Illuvatar bless your rolls!

Baruk Khazâd: Iron Hills for Middle Earth!

Axes of the Dwarves! The Dwarves are upon you!

This is from March 2018: Almost a lifetime ago it feels. Its about time I got some paint on them!

‘I do not think that any would come,’ he answered. ‘They have no need to ride to war; war already marches on their own lands.’-Legolas, Return of the King.

Back 2018 I made a massive push to play the then Hobbit Strategy Battle Game with my friends. It was tough going; 40k was wildly popular and almost without rival at my local clubhouse, and it was a fantasy game competing with Age of Sigmar, another juggernaut. Of course, in my reckless optimism, I acquired a large force of Iron Hills Dwarves, probably the strongest army in the game at the time.

That wasn’t the reason I collected them; while I have many opinions about the Peter Jackson Hobbit Trilogy(not many of them particularly nice…)I did love the dwarves. We never got to see that many during Lord of the Rings and seeing them in battle was a nice contrast to the prim and proper elves. Dain brought a decently sized force to the Battle of Five Armies, and while they differed drastically from the book depiction…I have a fondness for spears in large numbers.

At the time, I justified it by saying I could always field it as the dwarves present at the later Battle of Dale in the Third Age, where they fought a downright massive host of Easterlings from Rhun. This battle was in the book appendices, and was simply titanic in terms of forces involved, and almost none of them Orcs. I never expected in a million years that Games Workshop would actually cover the battle again(they did in the original Return of the King book), and with models to go with it. They did have an ‘old’ Dain Ironfoot, but his son Thorin III Stonehelm was simply a renamed generic Hero, as was King Brand of Dale.

So, of course the mad-lads behind the Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game went and did it.

ME RoadGoesOn Mar29 Content1s
Oh yeah, Old Dain is back! And his slightly goofy looking son as well!

This had the (probably intended by GW) effect of reviving my interest in Middle Earth again. While as of writing these models are part of a modified Erebor Reclaimed army-list, I have no doubt that that we will see either a bespoke army-list or an expanded one for this massive battle. It is heavily implied that we will see an expansion either just on this battle or in a compendium of battles that Sauron launched against the West, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for King Brand.

Now where does that leave me for army building? Well, I have enough Orcs to probably fill a bathtub, and enough Easterlings to fight skirmish level games. The Iron Hills army stands at 43 models including 2 banners and 2 captains. The Ballista, while very cool, isn’t in the Erebor Reclaimed list and must(for now) sit this battle out. I decided as a palette cleanse before I start assembling my horde of Bolt Action Soviets, to get some painting done, and selected 12 models and 2 command!

Lets see how I got on!

A small force, but a very playable one! More will come!

Now these are truly beautiful models. At 81 Canadian dollars for every 12, I certainly hope so! I was hesitant to paint them for the longest time, especially because resin can be hard to strip paint off of it had gone badly. But, I’ve learned to accept that I will not always paint ‘amazing’ models compared to the standards of others, but I can always shoot for my personal quality. So with that caution thrown aside, I got started.

The Warriors were particularly annoying, as past me had made the lazy decision to assemble them fully then paint. What a mistake that was! The shields and faces were very difficult to do.

A simple paint scheme for these doughty dwarves. Some gold accents, copied from film, and brown undertunics, which can barely be seen here.
The wash really came alive and helped me feel better about how I was getting along. They really don’t look too shabby, and are definitely tabletop quality.
There is something to be said about a good shield, and these are indeed good looking shields!
Easy too. The detail is in sharp relief and took the paint and subsequent wash really well.
Arrayed together as a single warband, and the sea of spears really comes to life. This is a shield-wall few will want to mess with!

With the Warriors done, I moved onto the banner and Captain. These were actually a bit easier, as the shield was not blocking too much of their bodies. The banner was a tough nut to crack as I had not a single idea on how I wanted to do it beforehand. Luckily, a chat with my more artistically inclined(if not particularly verbose) sister led to the result. “Add more colour” she said, and honestly the addition of sky blue and red made it pop just enough that I am happy with it.

A Captain of the Iron Hills is no slouch in combat, and with his spear, can contribute to the fighting line.
A dirty but striking red cloak makes him stand out on the battlefield.
The banner! It’s simple but its enough that I’m happy with it. I have a far more complex banner in the works for the next warband.
And the back! Not much to say other then hey, its the back!

That was this warband completed, and a solid chunk of points too! I’m going off a 750pt to 1000pt limit as my initial goal. With new(old actually, ha!) Dain replacing his pig-riding, bloody crazy version leading the main force, with two wings led by either his son or the able Captains.

Which leaves…

Ho boy, I got loads to go. At least I can rule out piggy and the Ballista.

With the new ‘Old’ Dain and his son on his way, I am eagerly awaiting the supplement that will accompany him. Luckily, they have published rules to use in the mean time, most of which have been pinched from his original form back in 2003. His son, Thorin III, is a different beast entirely, and while not a beefcake, can be used as an interesting strategic tool with his subsect of abilities allowing him to change the flow of the battle.

I should, unless they add some stuff, be able to field the army upon release of the supplement without much in the way of work, if I keep hammering out dwarves 14 at a time. That is the plan anyways, and judging by the fact it took me 3 years to get this lot even near the painting table, plans can be easily go awry.

In any event, I rewarded myself as a Hobbit would do…

A bit of the Old Toby, and a lovely evening chill.

Anyways, that is all I had for today. I hope you enjoyed this drastic shift in topics(not all those wander are lost after all!)

Happy War-gaming wherever you are, and remember what Tom Bombadil said: “Be Bold, but Wary! Keep up your merry hears, and ride to meet your fortune!”