Friday, May 10, 2019

Gearing up for more GW Lord of the Rings

A post in which we talk about doing more LOTR.
and I complain about not having anytime for fun.

Wargaming Compass Points to Middle Earth for Awhile

With an enjoyable and successful game of Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game under my belt, now seems like a good time to fall down this hobbit hole.  There are several projects that I want to do, and it's a nice break from the normal most serious historical gaming.

Plus, looking ahead, it looks like the first Wargame convention that I will be able to attend is near the end of July called "Intergalactic Conquest."  This is the 'midsummer conquest' convention that I attended last year with a name change and a sci-fy theme.  LOTR is about as -fy- as I get.  But for the first time in forever I could actually host a game that fits the theme.
(when you have a little girl in your house, the songs from Disney's Frozen are never far away)

Right now I'm thinking of putting on a series of linked games from the Gondor at War supplement but we'll have to see how much stuff I get done first.  It's a good time to start with about 3 months till wargame convention weekend.  Depending on what else happens in life, this means I could get as many as 5 miniatures painted.  Or maybe more.  depends if I do highlights.

Alternatively I could just put on 1 or 2 larger style battle games set in LOTR lands.  Either from the scenario book or just make something up.

Lets' Get Painting

Painting up LOTR miniatures heralds my glorious return to painting 28mm.  I think it's been about 2 years since I painted anything 28mm as I've been focusing on 18mm ACW and 1/1200 ships.

28mm seem pretty huge in comparison, so on the upside, painting the details should be pretty easy.
On the downside there are more details to paint, and I have to remember how to paint faces.
-that last statement was misleading, because it implies that I knew how to paint faces in the first place.  I will say this though: a nicely detailed 28mm miniature makes me want to paint it the best that I can, with extra time and effort, as opposed to those tiny 18mm figures that just get the bare minimum.

First project: let's paint all the those black-primed models from the last game, because they'll be used in the next game if I follow the sequence in Gondor at War (and why wouldn't I).

  To warm up and shake out the kinks of my rusty 28mm painting skills, I painted up some Rangers of Gondor.

"we are not ninja's, we are rangers."
  "but you look like ninjas?"
  "We are rangers!  Karate chop to your face!"

I swear, these guys just look like woodland themed ninjas.

Feeling that went well, I turned my attention to the heroes.  I painted up the Madril model

"I swear my name is Madril."
"but you don't look like Madril"
"Silence I say!

No it's not the actual proper Madril model, this is a model of some guy called Duinhir.  But I don't have the proper Madril model so this guy will have to fill in.  No one will notice anyway.
and even if they do?  This is not for a tournament where everything needs to be WYSIWYG.  I have no problem proxying one fictional character with another fictional character, especially when it's not an iconic character.
Do you know who Madril was from the movies?  I doubt it.

It was this guy

He's best friends with Faramir.  In the movies he tells Faramir that if he lets the hobbits go, his "life will be forfeit."  Nothing every comes of it though.  And Speaking of Faramir...

A lot of my LOTR collection are old models painted a long time ago, some almost 10 years ago, and my painting has improved just a little bit since then.  Least I think so.  While it's probably not worth my time to repaint all of the old models, I did want a better painted Faramir, one of my favorite characters. I had this miniature of Faramir in the lead mountain (of DOOM).  I've always thought this pose of drawing the sword for battle was the best, out of the all the available Faramir poses.

I also touched up my Boromir who guess stars in the next scenario.  Though he's supposed to be carrying a banner, so I'm gonna have to print one up and attach it to him somehow.  There's a plan in place but no time yet.

Now all of the good side is at least painted from the previous scenario (Defense of Osgiliath) and the next two scenarios (Retaking of Osgiliath and the Fall of Osgilaith).  Good side: DONEZO.

I might redo the bases on the older troops so that everyone matches and looks more uniform, and to be more cohesive with the the stone pattern in the wargame mat I'm using for my Osgiliath and Minas Tirith from Cigar Box miniatures.  But rebasing is SUCH a chore...

But first I want to complete the evil side, as it had some bare black primer miniatures as well.

I painted up these two Orc Captains.
Not much to say.  There they are, all painted like.

 and the next scenario requires a TROLL.  
This model has sat in a drawer for years in nothing but black primer.  In fact, it's so old that it's actually made of metal and not plastic.  I guess it was time to finally paint it as it's waited long enough in it's dark troll hole.

Step 2: Terrain Snowball

The Osgiliath ruins are coming along well, but the table still looks a little empty in places.

from last game, a pic of the board

especially if I'm going for that 'cramped, ruins all around us' feel.  I'm gonna need some more walls, some pieces of scatter, and more buildings.

To get the snowball rolling, I took to the garage and unleashed the super sexiness of power tools.  I made sure to tell the wife what I was doing so she could come and gaze upon me with wonder and longing.  She snapped this picture of me while trying not to laugh...

Drink in the sexiness.

After a short amount of time, (because power tools make working faster), I had stack of bases in various sizes for later.

Maybe you've heard of a debt snowball? Well the idea of a terrain snowball is the same.  Start with the smallest base and make it into a terrain item of some sort.  When it's done move onto the next larger base, and so on.

Other Feats of manhood that I accomplished lately..

bought a lawnmower and tamed the wild grass

This is the air gap for the dishwasher.  Witness how it's NOT shooting water all over the counter, that's because I fixed it.  I didn't know what an air gap was until just recently.

installed baby gates so son #2 doesn't get out of his designated area without permission  from the overseeing parents.

Enough Foolishness with the Pictures.

Fine.  Back to the hobbying:

The only snags with making terrain from the Hirst Arts molds is that the process is kinda messy.  Dust and small bits of plaster gets everywhere and it takes a lot of space on the hobby table, and by a lot of space I mean aaallll of the space.   So once a terrain project is started it has to be finished before something else can be started.  Therefore the terrain projects have to be manageable and able to be completed in a somewhat reasonable time-frame.

Step 3: The so-called Plan:

I'll be engaging in an exciting cycle of: painting miniatures, make terrain pieces, and trying to squeeze in playing a game or two.  Rinse and repeat. Fairly standard thinking on my part and a statement made by every blog ever. Utterly conventional.  I was never accused of being an original thinker.

We'll see how it goes.  Right now life is conspiring against me and forcing me to attend to important matters but that's how it is sometimes.  These important maters include Son#2 first birthday, wife#1 birthday, mother's day, a whole slew of chores, and traveling down to southern California and spending about a week and half down there getting my father's house ready for sale (the house that I grew up in). 

Hopefully I'll be able to carve out some more time for relaxation and gaming in the upcoming months.  πŸ™‚


  1. Oooh, I like how the troll turned out. Once things settle down, I'll look forward to progress on this.

    1. Thanks FMB! Especially because that troll was kinda a PITA to paint. I kept finding more details to paint and he’s got an odd pose.
      And I still have another stroll to paint. πŸ˜€

  2. You are a busy man and a handy guy to have around the house. When I engage in potentially dangerous activities, I let my wife know not so she can take pictures and laugh but so she can whisk me off to urgent care if needed.

    Good progress on the hobby front.

    1. Thanks JF. I didn’t really know she was gonna take pictures but I did try some lame flirting by use of power tools. Just trying to keep up some man credit. Anyway it was all in fun. πŸ˜€
      It’s extremely slow progress, but progress nonetheless. πŸ˜€

  3. Looking very good Stew and great to see that the household chores are not getting too much in the way of he really important stuff!

    1. Thanks Carlo, I try to keep my priorities straight. They end up crooked anyway. πŸ˜€

  4. The 28mm figs look excellent--just like riding a bicycle, the skills come back. And it's a rare fellow who can combine power tools and wargaming (without injury). Having gong through transitioning my parents to assisted living, I can relate to your situation. Take what time you can for yourself and hobby when you can to get you through.

    1. Thanks Ed. There is something to be said about being in the sandwiched position of taking care of young children and older parents at the same time. Thanks for the well wishes.
      As to the figures, they came out well enough. It’s amazing how different it felt to paint such large things, but I still use a magnifier to see the small details. πŸ˜€

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks Norm, it was a good purchase on my part. πŸ˜€
      I had it out because I was trying to see if the basing on the figures looked good on it. I’m trying to find a happy medium where the bases look good on the stone mat and look good on a grass one. I’m tempted to go clear bases...perhaps that’s another project for the future. πŸ˜€

  6. Really glad to see another update and a hobby progress one, no less! That is an impressive painting output and the rangers look great!

    I don't know if you'd like a quick painting tip but I'll pass one along for the troll. I'd give his armor a wash that is equal parts black and brown (Nuln Oil and Agrax Earthshade if you use GW paint) on the metal parts to make them look less shiny and more weathered. You don't need to cover all of the metal either. It can just be in the center or irregularly applied. If you mix some water into the wash, will make the weathering more subtle as well. This trick can be used on any metal that should look dirty or old and worn like the forces of evil in LOTR.

    Keep the updates coming, Stew! They're very enjoyable to read!

    1. Thanks Kuribo for the comment, I appreciate it. πŸ˜€
      You have a very good eye! The pics of the Troll are indeed pre-wash. It’s washed now in its army painter strong tone (the thing that’s shade and varnish together but leaves the model glossy). It takes a few days to dry. Usually everything gets a treatment of this stuff painted on. But since it destroys a brush it makes sense to do a couple of models at a time. I’m thinking of getting some normal washes just because of this. I use valello paints and stuff just because that’s how I started.
      I don’t use GW paint just because I can’t stand the way they name the colors. Like what color is bugman’s glow? It drives me crazy like when Gatorade is called something like “mountain fierce”. What flavor is that? Have you ever had a drink and thought oh I can really taste the mountain?
      But I digress.
      More LoTR content in the future. πŸ˜€

    2. Glad to hear about the wash and I use Army Painter brushes and some of their tufts so I can attest to their quality as a brand! The GW paint names might be the dumbest thing they insist on doing. You feel like such a nerd saying many of the names! :D

      I will be eagerly anticipating the next LOTR update! :)

  7. Cool collection of minis! Well done on the plumbing victory :)

    1. Thanks Simon. Even on that minor project it was touch and go there for awhile. πŸ˜€

  8. Your 28mm painting hasn’t suffered at all from the long absence; the results are superb. Looking forward to the next instalment.

    1. Thanks Mike, but superb is definitely an exaggeration for miniatures that don’t even have eyes painted. Lol.
      Appreciate the comment. πŸ˜€

  9. Great stuff Stew! Absolutely love seeing more LoTR πŸ˜€ I hope your wife got to see you struggle cutting that MDF with the jigsaw - there is nothing more frustrating than trying to hold it on the table and cutting it as it's flopping around like a fish out of water 🀣
    All the best for getting your old house ready for its sale, I'm sure that will be a difficult one.

    1. No flopping going here my friend, because these hands are like vices made of iron! πŸ˜€
      (In truth the wood did squirm quite a bit).
      Thanks for the well wishes about the house, it was a strange experience.
      Glad you like The lotr stuff. πŸ˜€

  10. 28mm painted figures shock! They look great,I like the troll and the rangers are ace! Impressive power tool usage too, very straight lines for a jigsaw!
    Impressive plumbing and safety gate work, which I'm sure you'll be able to apply to wargaming somehow?
    Best Iain

    1. I was shocked too.
      I think the best application is that with those chores done I can get back to the important miniature hobby stuff. Who am I kidding bc there are always more chores πŸ˜€
      Thanks for the comment Iain.

  11. Hey great work on the LotR fellows. Painting 28mm does seem like a chore until you paint 101 tiny guys and then it seems like a dream, which I always ruin by trying to paint 101 28mm figures...

    And real life always seems to get in the way of things (right now we are in "Birthday season" which starts at the end of April and runs nearly uninterrupted until the end of June).

    1. Dude, I totally understand birthday season! Our starts in May and runs through July. 7 birthdays believe it or not. πŸ˜€
      It is very different to paint 28mm again after the tiny guys. They seem to paint up both slower and faster. But I’m loving LoTR at the moment. πŸ˜€

  12. Those minis look far better painted up. I'll enjoy slaying them all the more when next we play. ;)

    So many chores and things and your son is almost 1 already!? O_o Yikes but the time does fly mate.

    1. Thanks bro. πŸ˜€
      Lately my whole life seems like chores. Lol
      But the boy is cute.