Wednesday, 28 September 2016

The Right Hand "Man"

Hello again.

Every cruddy soldier needs someone to lead them, and what better "someone" than an undead former king of men with a passion for breathing heavily when he speaks, a rather nasty knife up his voluminous sleeves, who gets to play with a very big mace whenever he chooses and can ride anything from a rather weird, ill-tempered horse to some great, flying beast from a nightmare place no one ever visits?

Many, many years ago in a time known only as the "Eighties", Games Workshop had a range of metal figures they marketed as "Lord of The Rings", well before a certain Mr Jackson ever sought to play fast and loose with Tolkien's finest work. They mostly (I think) came three figures to a blister pack and captured a view of Middle Earth that was probably in vogue at the time. I bought the Orcs offerings (which feature in my Orc army for Warhammer in their various guises), I bought various Elven offerings (which probably languish unpainted in a box somewhere), I bought a pack of Barrow Wights (one of which is now mounted in an ancient, Elven chariot and calls himself a "Tomb King") and I bought other bits and pieces, including the pack featured here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, I give you the foremost of the Nine, the former ruler of Angmar and Destroyer of Arnor, the infamous Witch King!

I had him lying around, I had need of more command options for my Mordor Orcs and I could not stomach the extreme amount of currency required for the official LotR figures, so he got the gig!

This is the end of the Mordor Orcs for a while, though I do intend to grow the collection in time.


He must have been having a command meeting with Shelob, judging by the cobwebs hanging off his crown (or I have just left him lying around a tad too long...)

The Witch King in concert mode, singing his little heart (?) out for the adoring fans (or cowering Orcs)

Friday, 23 September 2016

Slightly less cruddy Sauronistas

Hello again.

The Mordor Orcs have approached a "logical" stopping point in their growth with the acquisition of a few leaders and specialists to accompany the dregs that have gone before.

These figures must be worth more than the average Cirith Ungolite as:
a) They are made of metal.
b) Some of them have names!
c) They come in packs the size of which makes them far more expensive per figure than the common or garden crud they get to lead (especially at GW prices...)

But, what is an Orc army without a few Uruk-hai, a few cunning nasties who call themselves "leaders" and the odd runt whose trickery, sneakery and general skullduggeriness outmatches that of Joe Average? Or should that be Azog Average?

I am looking to add a few more Uruk-hai, another couple of the named characters (though they will probably not be used as such in future games), a troll or two and I have an exceedingly venerable Grenadier Miniatures "Wraith on Fell Beast" to build and paint too. And I could always use another plastic boxed set of crud to add to the orc numbers and options.

I shelved the original experiment with the Army Painter dips on these and stuck to my usual collection of basecoats, washes and highlights. I am much happier with the finished result than I was with the original orcs. I could have tarted them up a bit beyond the dip stage but, as I wrote when I posted the orc pictures, it seemed counter productive to do so...


The command, including a "Grishnakh" with sword held low in his left hand. Note to self: stay away from trees, especially those that can walk and spring up unexpectedly when you chase hobbits into woodland...

Some Uruk-hai. I may commit figure heresy and get a box of plastic Morannon Orcs to fill out their numbers. The Morannon folk have better armour than the usual crud and are cheaper than these metal figures! Plus, I reckon they would fit in if you did not look too closely...

Some Trackers, a fabricated offering that basically gives you some archers who do know which end of the arrow to hold AND can very occasionally hit something with it.

Monday, 19 September 2016

More of Sauron's (less than) finest

Hello again.

As some of you will know, if you have bothered to read some of my more recent posts, I have been busily scampering through a few mini-projects in the past few months in order to try and clear up some quickies before I get sucked into yet another big project. The main two focal points in this regard have been my French & Indian Wars and Lord of the Rings "collections" - the parentheses are there because I am not really sure "collection" is the right word for a few dozen figures versus the several hundred I tend to get through as a minimum when I do a larger project...

Anyway, the figures below were painted ages ago, but only recently brought up to full completion with basing work, and they are something a little different to my normal techniques.

The figures are bog standard Games Workshop Mordor Orcs, twelve to a box and in various poses, but I avoided my usual base/ wash/ highlight routine and used the Army Painter wash on these. My thinking was that they were just a sideshow to my main interests and I wanted something quick.


I will come straight out with it and state that this way of working is not for me.

The product itself is fine, giving a suitable wash and varnish to suitably base-coated figures, but I do that anyway. What I missed out on with these, through choice, was the highlighting back up to my usual standard, which sort of makes the varnish side of the army Painter wash irrelevant. Also, I use washes specific to the base colour, so an all over gungy brown does not appeal, except in certain specific circumstances, I suspect. Those circumstances could include Mordor Orcs in truth, but I am more thinking Sudan Wars British in khaki, Afrika Korps/ 8th Army/ Italians in Libya - that sort of basic, uniform thing.

So, I have long since packed away my two jars of Army Painter wash for such projects and will continue with my usual techniques. Fair play to those who swear by this product - the great thing about this broad, wargaming church is that there is no heresy (unless using unpainted figures counts as such. OK, I'll come clean again - it DOES!!!) - so paint your own figures exactly how YOU want to. It just isn't for me.

Anyway, here are a few Orcs.

And the great thing about Orcs???
They constitute the sort of crud I get the most joy from!


The whole "army" of 30 combat figures...the good thing about GW games is that the paucity of figures required helps offset the massive cost of buying their figures to start with!

Lots of nice, varied poses provide the different equipment options allowed to Orcs in the LoTR rules.

And I have a few poor quality archers to keep the odd Goodly head down whilst the Orcs get over any initial flakiness and charge home.

Saturday, 3 September 2016


Hello, and welcome to Autumn (according to the BBC at any rate).

I picked up a copy of the latest issue of "Miniature Wargames" magazine a few days back, whilst on holiday (issue number whatever for September) and had my customary flick-through before settling down to read the bits I like the look of at my leisure some time later.

I got to the back cover.

My eyes lit up.

Here is why...

Picture the scene.

It is just after Christmas in the year of Our Lord, 1973.

Six year old G left his native Gloucester a few months previously as his father sought work elsewhere. You can imagine how gut-wrenching this was to your poor scribe...

Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev had, amongst other things, received a boxed game produced by Parker Games (I think) for Christmas and, with several of his friends around to our house for something of a Yuletide party, that boxed game was brought out and set up on the kitchen table. Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev played the Germans - he was strange like that...
I remember his friends Mel and Steve, but no one else, but I do remember the game had all sides portrayed and I got the Dutch.

I should apologise at this point, as I did not even know the Dutch had been in the Second World War let alone the fact that the Germans had bothered to capture any of them. Having since seen photos of the bombing of Rotterdam and learned rather more of 20th Century history in the ensuing years, I can only beg forgiveness for my ignorance from our Batavian cousins.

Now, as we all collected rope, keys, avoided Germans, etc, I got out through the wire and made my bid for freedom. Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev sent a sentry after me. I rolled the dice and moved. He played a card and...

"Shoot to Kill" was displayed upon the card. He shot. I died. I was out of the game. My first foray into a game I have played loads of times since ended sadly.


Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev has mislaid his original copy and seems to think I have it. I do not. If I should, by some miracle, ever find it in the cavernous dump of old things that is my loft, I will naturally return it with profuse apologies, but, in the meantime, perhaps I should just buy myself a copy of this issue and perhaps get one for him for Christmas 2016...


There is a big, family holiday set for the end of July 2017 down in deepest Somerset. I will be there, as will Occasional Wargamer Brother Kev, Nephew Nick and various other worthies. This game is DEFINITELY getting an outing.


Just how did the tortoise beat the hare?

Hello again.

I have had the makings of a Mordor Orc army for GW's "Lord of the Rings" game for ages, but have struggled to get them ready for battle with the various big projects I have had on for the past few years on behalf of the "Wyrley Retinue". Well, now I have no major project on for next year, I have managed to pursue some more of Sauron's less-than-finest with a view to finishing this little project off this year.

I bought these mounted fellows ready-built, undercoated and with the Wargs already done a couple of years ago from the Stafford Games (RIP) secondhand table. They cost me £18 for 18 figures, which, at GW prices, is a BARGAIN!!!

So, I have finally got around to painting them and they fulfil both my Mordor Orc reinforcements desire and the love of crud - their stats in the game are rather poor, as befits a lowly Orc. They are just rather speedier crud than their foot-slogging brethren.

I did not touch the Wargs at all, but tarted up the bases, which had basic texture work done (sand and glue probably), and painted the riders throughout.


As you can see, I have three "squadrons" of six figures each, one with spear, one with bow and one with sword. The sword and spear guys also have shields, which is nice. That armour rating needs to be as high as possible in my book!