First Line of Defence

Tony F previews an Open Day Lord of the Rings battle

The Rammas Echor was an ancient defensive wall around the Pelennor Fields, where the great battle was fought before the city of Minas Tirith during the War of the Ring. It was intended to protect the area around the city, which was mostly farmlands. If you’re not familiar with the books and have only seen the films you wouldn’t know anything about it, as Peter Jackson chose to omit it from the Return of the King (understandably perhaps, as it’s only really mentioned in passing). It was repaired and strengthened by Denethor II as the threat from Mordor became apparent, but was never manned in sufficient numbers – it was after all around 35 miles long – and fell quickly.

We’ve adapted a scenario from one of the Games Workshop sourcebooks, involving Faramir and a small number of rangers returning from the battle in Osgiliath and attempting to reach the relative safety of the wall. The defenders then have to hold the wall as long as possible.

I’ve built a section of the wall from insulation foam, with battlements cast in resin. The style of the battlements and colour of the wall are based on the Minas Tirith city walls seen in the films, although the walls are substantially lower (the dimensions I based on the size of Hadrian’s Wall). Taking a further cue from Hadrian, I added a small wall fort, just an enclosed courtyard with a couple of small buildings for the Garrison. A dirt track will lead to the front gate, with a more substantial road from the rear gate which leads off to the city. The area in front of the wall has been cleared to allow the defenders a good field of fire, with nothing but a few trees and rocks for cover.

Holding the wall is a company of warriors from Minas Tirith armed with swords, spears and bows. They also have an Avenger Bolt Thrower and crew on one of the bastions. Reinforcements are desperately awaited from the city, and whatever stragglers make their way back from Osgiliath.

Middle-Earth May

An Open Day update from Tony F

Following on from my progress in March painting Lord of the Rings figures for my Ramas Echor Open Day game, I had a fallow April (the demands of Salute took up all my time that month). However, I was back in the saddle (literally) in May, with over a dozen figures on the painting table.

I’ve had a box of Swan Knights of Dol Amroth which I’ve wanted to paint for a while, and this game was the ideal chance to get them on the table. There are six altogether, which I’ve assembled as a captain, standard bearer, musician and three knights. I kept the horses and riders separate during painting to make things easier. I started by spraying the riders a dull silver and airbrushing the horses in Vallejo French Blue (I also masked off and airbrushed the riders’ flags and pennants in the same colour). The horse coats were then washed and highlighted with Citadel paints and the horses themselves painted in various shades of brown. The Knights were washed with Citadel Nuln Oil (black) and drybrushed again in a brighter silver, and details picked out. The barrel on the base of the catapult is a very old Peter Pig casting.

I’ve also finally assembled my Avenger Catapult, a resin Finecast model – this will be very handy against the Trolls and other large creatures from Mordor. Gondor warriors are all fairly monochromatic – most of the figures are covered in silver armour, and the bits that aren’t silver are mostly black. I painted the armour the same way as the Knights (Army Painter Platemail spray basecoat, Nuln Oil wash, Citadel Necron Silver drybrush), then painted any exposed cloth black with dark grey highlights, along with the shield. Other than that, their faces (the tiny bit you can see) were painted flesh and washed with a dark flesh wash, and I picked out a few straps and spear shafts brown and added a few gold details.

I also painted up three more plastic warriors of Minas Tirith and a metal standard bearer – these were already assembled and undercoated so it made sense to finish them at the same time as the catapult crew.

With just over three weeks to go, I have ten more figures to finish, which shouldn’t be a problem – however, there’s still the minor matter of the Ramas Echor itself. The first photo below shows the rough layout of the piece of wall I’m building – the centre section will have a gateway, and behind it is a small wall fort with a couple of buildings as accomodation for the garrison. The other two wall sections will have a bastion for archers or the Avenger Catapult.

This is a nearly-finished section of wall with the battlements in place. These are based on the Minas Tirith city wall design, which I’ve cast up in sections in resin before gluing them in place (the resin just happens to be exactly the same colour as the insulation foam that the body of the wall is made from).

Finally, I finished two half-painted figures which aren’t needed for the Open Day game. On the left is the Mouth of Sauron, who is a man (probably a Black Numenorean) in the service of Sauron. He’s been 3/4 finished for ages, so I didn’t need to do much other than finish a few details and paint his base. On the right is a Captain of Rohan, the mounted equivalent to the figure I finished a couple of months ago.

Open Day 2018

The club is holding its annual Open Day on Saturday June 23rd (11am to 4pm). This when we put on many games and open our doors for all to come and visit and get a much wider idea of what we do and the games we play. We try to put on a good variety of games across all the popular periods and scales, all of which are open to visitors to join in. We offer a special discounted membership rate for anyone who joins the club on the day. There’s also a prize draw sponsored by local manufacturer Brigade Models for all visitors.

This year there are seven games, including one put on by Milton Hundred Wargames Club, our nearby friends and neighbours. The six club games are as follows:

The Fall of the Ramas Echor – a 28mm Lord of the Rings game set just before the Battle of Pelennor Fields, TA3019.

The Second Battle Of Sluys AD1370 – 28mm Medieval action using Lion Rampant rules.

Fields of Glory – a 15mm ancients game using the FoG ruleset.

Sharp Practice – 28mm Napoleonic skirmish action in the Spanish Peninsula.

WW2 Naval – early war action between the French and Italian navies in the Mediterranean.

Gaslands – post-apocalyptic car racing.

Directions to the club’s venue in Linton, near Maidstone, can be found on our website.

Club Game Updates

Time to share a random selection of pictures from the last couple of club meetings – April 28th by Andy King, May 12th by Tony Francis and Stephen Tucker. Highlights include Pete’s ‘Charlie Don’t Surf’ Vietnam game, two naval games (Napoleonic and 50’s modern), Celtos Fantasy and a Star Wars fleet battle.

April 28th

May 12th

More LotR Goblins

Another To-Do list update from Andy King…

Last instalment for the Moria Goblin force are two bases of smaller spiders. These came from a Tesco Halloween novelty pack, around 50 spiders for £1. They are not that big, around 20mm across the legs, so only room for 2 on a 40mm base. I only wanted 2 more bases, and didn’t want another full pack of Copplestone spiders.

The paint job is similar to their larger cousins, a dark brown basecoat followed by drybrushing lighter shades of brown. Leg segments, eyes, pincers and body spots were then added.

I’ve also finished three Khazâd Guard Dwarves, there were E-bay purchases and were partly painted when I bought them.

Middle-Earth March

A post from webmaster Tony F…

I have two Middle-Earth projects on my To-Do list this year – the first is a refight of the Scouring of the Shire mini-campaign with Phil, for which I’ve completed all my Hobbit figures and just need to finish off various bits of Shire scenery. The second project is a game for the club’s 2018 Open Day, part of the Siege of Minas Tirith – it turns out that I have most of the Gondor figures I need already painted, although I will use it as an excuse to paint a box of Knights of Dol Amroth which have been sitting in the pile for a while. When I was sorting through my Middle-Earth figures I came across an awful lot which I’d started but not finished – dozens, in fact – plus many other that have been based and undercoated but no more. So I’ve resolved to slowly work through these and complete as many as I can, both ones for the two main projects plus any others that take my fancy. March has been quite productive, I’ve finished eight figures (although only one of these is for the Open day game).

I’ll start with the elder race first – in the main picture above is Gil-Galad, Elven King who was slain by Sauron at the Battle of the Last Alliance (he can be briefly seen in the opening part of the Fellowship movie). To his right is Haldir, who turned up with his elves at Helm’s Deep in the Two Towers movie for no immediately obvious reason (in the book he stays firmly in Lothlorien for the duration).

Next in order of age are the Dwarves – this is Balin, a member of Thorin’s company who survived Smaug the Dragon but died in a vain attempt to retake Moria. This is the early GW version of the figure rather than the one who appears in the Hobbit movies.

These two are Murin and Drar, a pair of Dwarf adventurers who are inseparable (you can’t use one in a Dwarf army without the other). I’ve never come across any reference to them in any of Tolkein’s books, so I think they’re a purely GW invention, but nice figures nevertheless.

Moving onto the race of Men (and Women), here we have a Captain of Rohan (l). He’s acting as bodyguard to Eowyn in her Pelennor Fields/Dernhelm armour (r).

And finally, the one figure that I do need in the Open Day game – a Knight of the White Tower. He’s a Finecast resin figure (the rest are metal) and has given me no end of problems with his bent sword – I’ve tried several times to sort it out with hot water (even clamping it between two pieces of flat plastic while it cools) but I can’t seem to straighten it out.

The Road Goes Ever On and On…

… but it does seem to reach the end eventually.

Tony F has an update on one of his To-Do list projects, completing his Scouring of the Shire hobbits which were started last year:

This only involved 12 figures, eight of which were already part-painted, so it wasn’t much of task, but it’s done at last. The final four figures were the hero hobbits, Pippin, Nine-fingered Frodo (yes, his tiny left index finger is missing), Sam and Merry, all on ponies (I already have foot versions). Pippin and Merry are wearing their uniforms as Heroes of Gondor and Rohan respectively.

In wild celebration I then went off and painted some elves – Elrond Half-Elven and his sons Elladan and Elrohir (who don’t get a look-in at all in the films, but in the book were present at the climactic battle at the Black Gate). Master Elrond in his Last Alliance armour is a really nice figure – I’m not quite so sold on the poses of the two junior elves, who are a bit two-dimensional, but the sculpting is nice.