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…

 

Three of Nine – Citadel Miniatures Mounted Nazgûl

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

These three models were painted some time ago, around 2005 – give or take a few years, and long before blogging was a thing to me. They’ve recently been drafted into Marouda’s Kings of War Undead force as Soul Reaver Cavalry – that is to say Vampiric Cavalry, which seems about as reasonable an approximation of Nazgûl as you can get within the Army list. These three represent a “troop” of Vampire Knights, which would ordinarily be made of 5 models. Works well enough for me!

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

So while the models are old, and their paint is old, what’s new is that I’ve gotten some custom-cut MDF and been able to make a unit base for them, in much the same way as I did with the Swarms that I painted recently. I think it makes them look quite nice, and certainly looks better than having them blu-taced down to a bare piece of MDF. I don’t believe I’ve shown these models before, so it’s all good.

Dark Riders, Black Riders, Citadel Nazgul, Nazgûl

For now, the Nazgûl will reside in the Undead Army, but at some stage they’ll be split off into their own Mordor force – When I have enough Mordor models painted to field them as a smallish army in their own right.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

War Machines of Minas Tirith II

Citadel Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet with Crew

Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet with Crew.

My final model for the first 6-month Tale of Painters challenge, a second Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet for the collection. In an obverse situation to the Balefire Catapult, the crew were painted ages ago, alongside some batch or another of Warriors of Minas Tirith, while the Trebuchet itself languished for at least a year.

Citadel Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet Crew

Trebuchet Crew in Dance-off

This one, like the first, was an eBay rescue job. The metal was assembled, but coming apart and sprayed black. I assumed that I’d be able to knock it together in just a couple of days like I did with the first one, and in the same style. I took apart a few of the bits (stone, counterweight, cranks), cleaned them up from the glue residue, then started to set up a base on a large GW oval, and then… meh for the better part of another year. Until I finally got it done on the last day of the challenge. So there’s that as far as motivation goes.

Citadel Gondor Battlecry Trebuchet

Oh-so-exciting reverse angle of the Trebuchet.

I’ll showcase what I managed to paint within the 6-months next up.

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…

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgiliath Veterans, led by Faramir.

I needed to paint something different to plastic WoMT this month, so I looked through the Gondor figure box, and pulled out something both similar but different to the usual grind. My small collection of Osgiliath Veterans. Originally, when they were released, I didn’t much like the models and got just a few to use as alternative sword captains, but more recently, I managed to pick up a few more so that I could make a small but functional unit.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgilliath Veteran Swordsmen

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Rear view of the Swordsmen

I know they’re pretty good in SBG when led by Faramir, but I don’t want to purchase more of them, as they’re not cheap in metal from GW or eBay – nor do I especially want to convert a bunch of the plastic WoMT into additional OVs. I figure this single unit will do me for general gaming, and if I ever need more to use in scenario, I can use regular WoMT as proxies.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgiliath Veteran Spearmen

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Rear view of the Spearman

Since these Veterans have been in the field for some time, I approached painting them in a slightly different way to how I typically paint WoMT, while keeping to a similar palette. Instead of starting with black and highlighting with AP Wolf Grey, which is a blue-grey; I started with VMC Dark Grey and added a small amount of AP uniform grey for the highlights, which is much more of a neutral grey. The leather straps were done in the usual WoMT way, but all of the extra cloth parts, such as cloaks, bedrolls, satchels and shoulder bags and extra belt pouch bags were painted in a mixture of colours taken from the palette that I used for my Rangers of Gondor, since those guys will at times be used for Faramir’s rangers (along with those of Blackroot Vale and of course, the Grey Company!)

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Osgiliath Veteran Archers

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Rear view of the Archers

The metal of their armour was painted differently as well. I started with VGA 72.754 Gunmetal, highlighted with VMA 71.072 Gun and a very subtle highlight of Citadel Ironbreaker. After I completed my highlighting and shading of the entire model, I gave them a wash of 1:1:2 AP Dark Tone (black), AP Strong Tone (dark brown) and Windex as my thinning medium. This added a touch of grime to the models, to represent them having been out in the field for some time. The final touch (aside from flesh and hair) was a very subtle highlight of the wings embossed on the helm with Ironbreaker, to help reinforce the faces of the models as their focal point.

Archers of Gondor, Minas Tirith, Dol Amroth, Blackroot Vale, Osgiliath Veteran, Faramir's Ranger, Grey Company

Archers of Gondor, showing their different armour finish.

 

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veteran Standard, Faramir

Converted Osgiliath Veteran Standard, and Faramir.

It turned out that I only had 10 Osgiliath Veterans, so when I spent some time late last year trying to sort out my unpainted Gondor models, I decided to give them a couple of models to act as command, rather than buy more models. I threw a Gondor standard bearer and a spare Faramir into a baggie, and job done! I’ve got another of the same Faramir model, which I’d painted several years ago, after I’d started this blog but before I started really updating it with any frequency. He was of course painted to fit in as a commander of the Gondor army, and occasionally managed to take the field. It can be seen here. This time, I wanted the Faramir model to be very much part of the Veteran unit, and so he was painted with the same palette of greys, with just a touch of AP Wolf Grey mixed into the top highlights. I also added some gold trim on his armour and the white trim to his skirts to help distinguish him as the unit commander on the tabletop. While the Faramir is a nicely understated model, it’s not really a stand-out model for someone as important as Faramir.

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veteran Standard, Faramir

Reverse angle of Faramir and the Standard

I found the Standard much more interesting as a model. Once again, greys are the base, and browns the additive colour rather than blue-grey. I added a bread bag from a Warlord German to his hip to help him fit in with the troops, and also took his metal head off and replaced it with a Warlord Roman Veteran head, to which I added a touch of bloodstain on his bandanna. I also painted him with blonde hair and attempted to create a stark, greasy look with a dark wash. (As we know, greasy, dirty blonde hair just ends up looking brown, but this is miniature painting.) And yeah, I know Osgiliath Veterans can’t technically have a standard bearer, but he can easily be used as a Spearman, given the pointy end on that banner pole!

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Spear-based Osgiliath Veterans

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Sword-based Osgiliath Veterans

Citadel LotR Osgiliath Veterans

Bow-based Osgiliath Veterans

The “Kings of War” style unit photos this time show off the different configurations that these guys can be set up in, in order to bring one type of weapon or another to the fore, should I decide to vary the unit profile.

 

 

Warriors of Minas Tirith – Spearmen (6-Month Tale of Gamers Challenge)

Another unit completed for the Gondor army as part of the Jan-June painting challenge. I’m finding these guys pretty tedious at this point, so I’ll certainly be doing something to mix it all up a bit for the July-December challenge.

Citadel Miniatures Warriors of Minas Tirith Captain and Standard

Warriors of Minas Tirith Captain and Standard

These guys are another unit that had models shuffled around when KoW went to a second edition. I only noticed the other day when playing SAGA that a unit of spearmen had a couple of holes in their front rank, just waiting for a command pair. So I pulled out an appropriate pair of models and got them painted up pretty quickly.

Citadel Miniatures Warriors of Minas Tirith Captain and Standard

And the rear view. Shading these banners so they look decent is never fun.

I find it amusing that the needs of wargaming result in the Captains of Gondor having armour with more bling than Faramir did in the films. Then again, the other option is either to not have them stand out at all, or have them all standing on big piles of rubble.

Citadel Miniatures Warriors of Minas Tirith Spearmen

The finished unit of Minas Tirith Spearmen

Result: Another completed unit of Minas Tirith/Gondor/Kingdoms of Men Spearmen. I should have something more interesting for the next update!