Ow! My Eyeball! ME-61 Throne of Sauron (without Sauron!)

Yeah, so I haven’t been blogging for awhile now. It happens around this time of year – from September to the start of December work really heats up. This year, I’ve pretty much been working every day at work, after work, on days off and on the weekends for the past few weeks – so I’m tired as <pick your profanity> right now.

What I did manage to do for the first month or so was keep on painting, if not blogging or taking many photos, or being active online. This is one of the things I managed to finish. The Reaper Bones pillars I worked on in October were in many ways a lead-in to this model, which I’ve painted for Tarmor, from the Dragons of Lancasm blog. At this point it’s actually been painted for… well, over a month. 6 weeks perhaps? I dunno. We don’t manage to catch up often due to work and conflicting schedules, and so hobby things tend to go between via some mutual friends, and with work the way it’s been I’ve seen less of them lately, and kept forgetting to pass it on when I have…

Almost every time I see this model, the above Simpsons quote pops into my head.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

Dating from about 1985, This model is something of a rare breed these days – something I’ve painted for someone else, which is pretty much something I never do anymore. I just don’t have the time these days, and I have way too many models of my own – and I certainly don’t need the money that I used to get for commissions back in the 90’s anymore.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

When I first saw the model, my initial thoughts were to do it in what I guess is a pretty “traditional” manner – painting the spine in bone, and firey red-orange bodies and tentacles crawling around the red eye. After a bit of quick reflection, I visualised pretty much the exact scheme I’ve actually painted it in. The spine and ribs sculpted out of a dark green marble, while ethereal spirits writhe around the eye of Sauron, which sucks the light from the creatures around it – providing a nice contrast, and an ersatz eye socket effect.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

 

As the ethereals and the throne itself create a rather cold feel, the warm colours of the eye – the redness of the iris and the yellowed eyeball – create a nice contrast that makes The Eye of Sauron really stand out.

Citadel ME-61 Throne of Sauron

While basing is an important thing to consider, there was a kind of dichotomy at play here. I used a rolled-edge base as I wanted the throne to be raised up a little to represent its importance and also to protect the model – old lead chips easily. At the same time, I wanted the floor to be rather understated and generic – both so the model can be used in different settings and also so the actual throne remains the complete focus to the eye. To this end, I went with a simple texture on a rather dull grey. It will fit into dungeons and the like, or also outside if needed, with only a slight greenish tinge/glow to where the floor meets the edges of the ethereals.

Now I just need to get the thing across town to him…

 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Tale of Gamers Jan-June 2016 – Undead Showcase

Well, the first 6-month Tale of Gamers challenge over on Dakka has concluded, and so I’ll be posting a few pictures of the completed stuff. For the challenge, I pledged to complete (at least) one unit each for Undead and Gondor. A Unit being a troop or regiment, or a war machine, monster or even a single hero model. Here’s what I managed to get completed.

6 months worth of Undead Army painting challenge.

Now an important thing to bear in mind is that the challenge is/was to complete units. This means that models like the Black Númenórean units (to be used as Vampiric Infantry) count, as the heroes were completed within these past 6-months, which combine with the other models painted last year, to form completed units. Likewise the Balefire Catapult crew that I recently finished combine with the actual catapult that I painted last year to make another complete unit. Because it’s as much about motivating the participants (and especially me) to finish off those things that just sit there for ages staring back at us, as it is for starting and finishing the newest shiny – and gives the opportunity to do both.

6 Months’ worth of Right Flank

6 Months worth of Left Flank

I’m pretty pleased with the outcome. There’s essentially enough here to run as an army in and of itself. Sure, it’s lacking in bits and pieces – such as ranged and cavalry – but as (the larger half) of a project put together in 6 months, I’m satisfied.

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…

Gandalf the Grey – Speedpaint

When I’m able to focus, and manage to remember, I like to participate in the odd painting challenge over at The One Ring webpage, which is a great community of Tolkien/Miniatures gaming enthusiasts. Sometimes I check their page too late, sometimes I forget for months at a time, sometimes I select a figure but just don’t finish (or start!), and sometimes I actually manage to finish the model on time. Recently, I actually managed the latter, so I’m sharing it now.

Citadel Miniatures, Gandalf the Grey.

Citadel Miniatures Gandalf the Grey.

This Gandalf is from one of the very early boxed sets, circa around 2000. I bought it back in the day, and haven’t exactly been quick when it comes to painting it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve completed any of them. Well, excepting Gandalf now. I never got around to really playing the game in any meaningful way, so most of my interaction with the LotR line has consisted of collecting them.

Original GW Fellowship of the Ring Boxed set.

I’m quite happy with the outcome, especially since the model was also a speedpaint, and something a bit left field – since I wasn’t planning to paint any Fellowship-type models at the moment. I managed to get this guy done in just a bit over 24 hours from start to finish (though he was already primed black, from god knows how long ago). I rarely manage to do it, but there’s something especially rewarding about finishing a figure in a day. Or in this case, 2 days. Regardless, a lot nicer than my usual, which is months or even years to finish figures.

My previous attempt to paint a Gandalf model petered out and the model hasn’t been touched since 2010, as documented by the link..