Allies of Gondor

Tony F paints some alternative Lord of the Rings figures.

When I first read The Lord of the Rings, many, many years ago, one of my favourite parts was the defence of Minas Tirith and the Battle of Pelennor Fields. The cavalry actions particularly grabbed my attention, including the charge of the Rohirrim, and the sortie led by Prince Imrahil of Dol Amroth (who sadly didn’t make it past Peter Jackson’s editing pencil in the films) to rescue Faramir and the defenders of Osgiliath. I painted up a box of Swan Knights of Dol Amroth for an Open Day game a couple of years ago, and I’ve always wanted to expand them into a full army.

Apart from Prince Imrahil and the Swan Knights, there are few other official figures available from Games Workshop for the fiefdom of Dol Amroth. There is a set of four Men at Arms with pikes, and some older metal foot knights, which don’t really match the new plastic mounted cavalry (which are much better than the old metal ones). Forgeworld also has a new set of very nice resin foot knights which are moderately pricey but are a better match for the new plastic knights.

A while back I came across pictures of another Dol Amroth army with lots of conventional looking warriors on foot. These turned out to be conversions from Gondor figures with new heads – after a brief bit of digging I found that the heads came from eBob Miniatures. So I bought 20 heads (at a very reasonable £1 for 4) and then set about getting some plastic men of Gondor from eBay. I won an auction for 17 already assembled figures – which then of course languished in a box in the hobby shed for over a year (I believe wargamers are like wine collectors – our purchases need to be laid down in a cool, dark place before they can be fully enjoyed).

Then lockdown happened. Unlike some people I was neither laid off nor furloughed (in fact I was one of those for whom lockdown was a very busy period), but there are still weekends, and since we couldn’t go out, the Dol Amroth idea was dusted off again. I started with the head swaps on the plastic figures. The existing heads were removed with a pair of side cutters and cleaned up with scalpel and files, before drilling a small hole with a pin vice for the peg at the bottom of each replacement head. The heads were superglued on, and then came some tedious filling with green stuff. I also had to resculpt hair on the back of some of the figures which had been damaged by the removal of the original heads. I also cut, scraped, filed and sanded off the sculpted-on White Tree motif on all of the shields, as I wanted to replace that with Dol Amroth symbols. I also created a standard bearer using a spare lance from the Knights box – I swapped the hand with a swordsman.

With the conversion work done, painting could begin. I mostly use Citadel paints of all types including shades, dry and the new contrast paints. I started with an undercoat of Halfords grey car primer, followed by spraying them with silver paint bought from the poundshop. I then gave them a black Nuln Oil wash followed by a drybrush of Necron Compound. This is a really quick and easy way to paint silver armoured figures en masse. I painted their tunics blue using a contrast paint (not sure which one, sorry) with a single highlight layer and their trousers with Black Templar (also a contrast colour). After this it was just details – faces, armour straps and belts, and some gold detailing on the helmets.

The shields were painted blue and them I applied some home-made decals; I’d found some suitable designs online which I resized and recoloured in Photoshop, and printed on white decal paper on a laser printer. I touched up the edges of the decals with paint to blend them in as much as possible.

Everything was then given a coat of Army Painter spray varnish, and the bases were finished off with a combination of flock and grass Tufts.

So my Dol Amroth force now had six mounted Knights and 17 warriors on foot. To this I added three Knights on foot and four pike-armed men at arms, all led by Prince Imrahil himself. the other figures were all painted in the same way as the other warriors, starting with their sprayed silver armour. As befits his status, I did spend a bit more time on their leader.

Overall it makes a solid 600-point force, and all from figures that had been in the unpainted pile for a while.

Baruk Khazâd! Khazâd ai-mênu!

Andy updates his Dwarf collection.

Over the past few years I’ve picked up quite a few Games Workshop Lord of the Rings Dwarves at bring and buys and from E-bay. These will be opponents for my Moria Goblin collection. I have painted around half of them, time to finish the rest, in instalments.

I use the Goblins and Dwarves with Osprey’s Dragon Rampant more than the Games Workshop rules, so the unit sizes in DR will determine what I paint up.

First contingent comprises five Khazâd Guard, Gimli, and warrior supposedly with a double handed axe. The latter figure however was slightly damaged as the blade had broken off; so, he needed some remedial action. I thought the simplest fix was to cut a short length of matchstick, drill a hole in it to fit the remaining axe shaft and paint it up as a warhammer. As he will be a bit different to the other figures, I’ll make him a Captain to lead one of the units of Khazâd Guard, which in Dragon Rampant I’ll treat as Elite Foot, needing a total of 6 figures per unit.

I used short sections of matchstick to fill in the base slots where necessary, then added some 4Ground base render to level the slots up to base level, the bases were then given a layer of grit and sand mixed with PVA glue and allowed to dry. The figures were then sprayed matt black and the bases painted US Olive Drab and dry-brushed London Grey.

The Khazâd Guard and the Captain have a mixture of mail and scale armour. I dry brushed the mail with Silver, and painted the scale and helmets Bronze for the Guard and Gunmetal for the Captain. The armour was washed with AP Dark Tone. Tunics are Red, with AP Red Tone wash, boots and gloves German Camouflage Black Brown and belts Chocolate Brown.
Axe shafts Gunmetal and blades and hammer Silver. Pouches and beards/hair are various shades of brown or black.

As the Captain has a silver hammer, I think he should be called Maxwell.

Gimli was painted in a similar way to the Guard, but he has a Light Brown tunic with detail shaded with AP Red Tone wash with a German Camouflage Black Brown jerkin. Red trousers and Mahogany Brown hair and beard.

Bases were finished off with some static grass, and the figures matt varnished.

Maxwell and the Khazâd Guard

For Dragon Rampant games I wanted a Dwarf Wizard, I found one as part of the Northstar Oathmark range, in a command pack that also contains a King and musician. Once I got these home, I found that they are little larger than the Games Workshop figures. Instead of mounting these on slottabases I use some thinner 25mm diameter washers to ty and disguise the height difference.

These figures were painted in the same style as the Games Workshop figures.

Of (Norse) Gods and Mortals

I have a fairly large collection of Dark Ages figures, Saxons, Vikings, that sort of thing, so when Osprey’s “Of Gods and Mortals” came out I started looking for some figures to serve as the deities in the game. I didn’t fancy Northstar’s prices for the “official” figures so I kept my eye open at various Wargames shows for something suitable.

On the SHQ stand I found a set of four Norse gods, Odin, Thor, Sif and Loki, for much less than the price of one Northstar model (link). Greek and Roman pantheons are also available’

These figures are larger than life, measuring 40 – 50 mm tall.

After the usual clean up, wash and dry, the figures were fixed to 40mm diameter slotabases; I used matchsticks to fill in the slot before building up the base with 4Ground Base render and priming them with matt black spray paint. All paints are Vallejo unless stated otherwise.

First up we have Thor and Sif (husband and wife) seen above.

Thor’s loincloth is Red, with an AP Red wash, cloak Red Leather with an AP Soft tone wash, boots German Camouflage Medium Brown with Black tops. His belt, Megingjörð, is Bronze with Silver detail, his hammer, Mjölnir, is Gunmetal Grey and Silver with a Beige Brown shaft. Hair is Mahogany Brown with silver braids and his helmet is also Gunmetal Grey and Silver. I did debate removing the horns, but he isn’t exactly a historical figure, is he?

Sif’s clothing is Deep Sky Blue, with an AP Blue wash, her hair is Dark Sand, dry-brushed with Pale Sand and washed with AP Soft tone (don’t believe what you see in Marvel films). Boots are Black Grey with German Camouflage Medium Brown tops. Her belt and scabbard are German Camouflage Black Brown with Bronze fittings. Bases are US Field drab with electrostatically applied grass tufts.

The other two gods are Odin (with his two ravens Huginn and Muninn) and Loki.

Odin’s tunic is Red, cloak Black Red, both with an AP Red wash, trousers London Grey and boots German Camouflage Black Brown with Black tops. His armour is German Camouflage Medium Brown with a black belt and a Bronze buckle. Wrist guard is German Camouflage Black Brown with silver trim, and his arm torc is Silver and Bronze. Hair is Light Grey, dry-brushed White.

Huginn and Muninn are black, dry-brushed Black Grey, their beaks are also Black Grey.
I have a variety of wolves which could serve as Odin’s other animal companions, Geri and Freki.

Loki is mostly in shades of grey, London Grey for the Tunic, Pale Grey Blue for the under tunic and Dark Grey for the Cloak, the latter with a Bronze and Silver clasp. Hair is black.

Bases are the same as Thor and Sif.

To give a sense of the size of these models, here’s Thor with a couple of his followers, 28mm Foundry figures.

Downscaling

Andy tackles some 15mm armour.

I’ve done a fair bit of 28mm figures and models recently, finishing off my French in Mexico collection. So, I thought a change of scale and subject was required.

Last year I picked up some 15mm Sci-Fi vehicles and figures. The figures and a couple of small vehicles ware intended for some Rogue Stars games but I also came into possession of a tank. I haven’t painted the figures yet, but have finished the vehicles and tank. Paints are mostly Vallejo or Army Painter (AP).

First up is the tank. This is a Brigade Models Rapier MBT, it comes as a 9-piece resin and metal kit:

After cleaning up any mould lines and vents, and checking the fit of the resin pieces the parts were washed in soapy water to remove any dust or mould release agent.

Once the hull and track units were assembled a little filler was required for a small gap between the hull and tracks, nothing too severe. The main gun also needed a little filing to fit the turret.

Once the turret was assembled the hull and turret were primed with Halfords grey primer and then base coated with a couple of coats of AP Soviet Green, touched up with WW2 Russian Uniform (which is almost an exact match). I then added some camouflage of German Camouflage Beige Brown. These were then washed with AP Military Shader and Soft Tone wash respectively. Tracks were painted with MiG Rubber & Tyres, hull gatling Gun Metal, brake lights Red and head lights Matt Black. The gatling, hull vents and fans, and what appear to be cooling fins on the turret were heavily washed with AP Dark Tone wash.

The model was given a couple of coats of matt varnish (Titans Hobby), once thoroughly dry I gloss varnished the panels where I planned to add the tank ID number, then applied these (from Brigade’s Vehicle Markings range) and then reapplied matt varnish over the top.

In Brigade’s range these tanks are used by Ander’s Legion; so, if I decide to field a full force of these (and Brigade release appropriate unit decals) I may have to do a little more work on the tank.
One of the smaller vehicles is also from the Brigade range, a Javelot Scout car. The Javelot has a resin body with metal wheels, hatch and gun turret.

I wanted to use this a Police or Paramilitary vehicle, so went with a Dark Blue Grey paint job, with AP dark tone wash. Tyres are MiG Rubber & Tyres. The model has windows at the sides, I tried layering shades of blue from light at the bottom to darker at the top to give the illusion of reflected sky. Headlights were painted Silver, indicators Fluorescent Orange and brake lights Red.

I added a couple of vehicle ID numbers, using the same gloss / matt varnish technique as used on the Rapier tank. If I ever find my box of transfers, I’ll have a rummage and see if I can find some Police or Gendarmerie decals.

The other is from GZG, a light hover truck. This is a two-part metal kit, upper body and hover skirt, with a choice of two drivers, one in helmet and one in fatigue cap. I haven’t painted the drivers yet.

I chose Olive Green for the main body, with Dark Grey for the skirt and seats in the cab. The cab and load bay floor were painted Gunmetal Grey as were some panels on the sides of the truck. Headlights, brake lights and indicators as the Javelot. I used some spare 1:300 scale Dutch Neutrality aircraft markings from Dom’s Decals on the front and sides of the truck.

Plague Bearers

Mark2 has been working on some Death Guard; he insists they aren’t based on what he sees out of his window while painting…

Just before lockdown the club were starting to organise games for the open day. When I saw Eric was going to run a Kill Team game, there were two things I had to do. 1. participate in Eric’s game (can’t do that at the moment), 2. finish painting my Death Guard Kill Team, now that I can do, and so I did!

The figures are painted using Citadel paints, including some of their technical range, which I used to produce the rust and grime. I had thought about including some of the Death Guard’s original pre-heresy colour, which is bone white, but decided go for the classic putrid green look. I’ve purposely used light fogging here as it helps to produce the grime and general dirty aged look of the figures. There are loads of excellent examples of painted death guard out there, better than mine but I find most are too clean. These guys are supposed to be stinking rusting hulks surrounded by flies, foul gases and smoke.

They’re based on the Pallid Hand sect, part of the second company of the Death Guard, which specialise in armoured attack. My brief back story for the team is they’re part of armoured recon and specialise in operating behind enemy lines, gathering intel and taking out key enemy personnel, but also pack enough punch to take out light vehicles and strong points if required.

The sergeant (Nex Morbus) is armed with a power fist, plasma gun and plague blade; he carries most of the heavy weapons to take out any strong points but can also mix it up hand to hand. The rest of the team are armed with early pattern bolters and carry plague knives, blight grenades and melta bombs. I’m currently adding to the team, working on some poxwalkers to use as cannon fodder for larger Kill Team games.

Can’t wait to see how they do, the Death Guard are tough but slow, so tactics against more mobile but heavily armed units will be a challenge. Going to try them out against my son’s imperial guard using my 40K city terrain, will send this in for another blog at some point.

ACW Rescue

Stephen delves in his lead pile and recovers some long lost figures.

Many moons ago I bought some 28mm ACW figures in a bring ‘n’ buy with the intention of doing some skirmish games with them. I think they are Essex Miniatures. They then languished in the lead pile for a couple of years until Covid 19 came along and I had run out of anything else to paint. So, due to a global pandemic they managed to wriggle their way to the top.

I still haven’t decided what rules I will use. There’s Rebels & Patriots and Sharpe Practice, but neither is really exciting me. Still, got to get them painted before you have a game with them. Rules can come later.

I based them on Renedra 25mm bases and added some filler. They were then given an undercoat with Humbrol ‘Dark Earth’ model spray (the confederates will get a grey undercoat). That was the point at which they then found themselves abandoned in the lead pile.

The first thing I tend to do is base coat the flesh. This was done with Vallejo Saddle Brown. I also base coated the rifle as well using GW’s Mournfang Brown and the bayonet was done with Revell acrylic Steel. I then washed the rifle and bayonet. Normally I would use GW’s Agrax Earthshade, but I’m out of that. So I went old skool – a watered-down version of a dark brown acrylic paint.

So, the flesh. The base colour was Vallejo Medium Flesh and then highlighted by adding a drop of white. Beard and hair was done with Vallejo Golden Brown. I decided I wanted the uniforms to be a bit random – fabric, dye, and supplier would have varied during the war.

The jacket was done with a mix of Vallejo Oxford Blue, a drop of Royal Blue, and a bit of black. I varied the ratio between batches to give a bit of variety. The base coat was highlighted with a drop of grey rather than white.

The sky blue trousers were a mix of Vallejo Sky Blue with a spot of brown and grey to dirty and vary the shade. Again, the ratios were varied to reflect different supplies. This was then highlighted by adding white.

Leather straps were done in black and highlighted by adding browns and greys. This helps vary the type of black, which can vary depending on material and quality of dye being used. The shoulder bag was undercoated with Vallejo khaki and then highlighted with Revell Beige.

That just left the rifle. All I did was touch up the wood with GW Mournfang Brown. The bayonet and fittings were done with Revell Steel. The bayonet point was highlighted with Vallejo silver.

That leaves the basing. A coat of PVA then sprinkle with ballast and let it dry. And then a blob or two of more PVA and sprinkle with static grass.

And that’s that done.

The Last Lancer

Emergency surgery for Andy’s horse. It’s lucky he didn’t just shoot it…

We’ve used a number of different sets of rules for games set in the Maximilian Adventure, most recently The Men Who Would Be Kings. Under these rules I class my Mexican Lancers as Irregular Cavalry, each unit being made up of 8 figures.

I had 15 lancers and 3 officers, so I had one Lancer I didn’t need to paint, which was useful as unfortunately his horse was a miscast with part of the rear left leg missing.

Once Rebels and Patriots came out I thought I might try these out for a game or so, and in these rules standard Cavalry units have 6 figures, so it was time to paint The Last Lancer so I could field three Mexican cavalry units.

To start off I had to do some remedial surgery on his horse. The lower half of the leg was missing below the hock, including the hoof. The horse was modelled with both front legs on the ground with both rear legs off the ground.

I cleaned up the stump of the leg and superglued a metal pin in place between the end of the leg and the hoof of the right leg.

I then built up the lower leg with several layers of Humbrol Model filler. This is a polystyrene paste, which I have found can be “diluted” with polystyrene cement to make it more easily worked.

Here’s the horse with the filler “mass” prior to filing into shape.

I left the layers to dry for a couple of days then filed the plastic into shape to form the leg and hoof.

Once the surgery was completed the horse was glued to a Warbases “pill” base, 50mm x 25mm, which was then built up with 4Ground base render.

All paints used are Vallejo acrylics, unless stated otherwise. The horse was painted Chocolate Brown and washed with Army Painter (AP) Dark Tone. Here’s a close up of the finished leg.

The Saddle cloth was painted Dark Blue over Light Brown with Flat Red trim.

I added a wire lance to the lancer, and undercoated him with matt black, face and hands were base coated Brown Sand and top coated Medium Flesh. His shirt was painted Deck Tan and the lance painted Beige Brown. Here they are part painted.

The horse’s saddle and harness were painted Saddle Brown and the saddle roll Black Red. The horse has a cloth draped over his back behind the saddle, this has a fur like texture; I painted this German Camouflage Beige with an AP Soft Tone wash.

The lancer was finished off with Light Brown chaps with Luftwaffe Camouflage Green trim, London Grey Vest, Flat Red Poncho lined Black Red and a Light Grey Hat. Lance and carbine stock were Beige Brown, Scabbard Black with Gunmetal fittings.

The base was painted AP Banshee Brown and patches of flock added and then the figure was mat varnished.
So, here he is: the Last Lancer. The final figure in my Maximillian Adventure collection.

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Andy’s unchained melody.

In the pack of ACW Union artillery men I finished recently was a small ammunition marker, comprising a powder barrel and a stack of cannon balls. I thought this would be useful for any rules or scenarios that have ammunition restrictions, but I’d need more than one.

I mounted the original on a 25mm washer, painted the barrel Vallejo German Camouflage Brown with an Army Painter dark wash. The bands were painted copper.

The original model.

I had some spare barrels already painted; from Ainsty I think. But how to do the cannonballs?
A recent clothing purchase yielded the answer; on a couple of the items the sales tags were attached by means of a ball chain. So, getting a few 25mm diameter washers and some card I went to work.

On each of the washers I glued a square of carboard over the hole, while the glue was drying, I started work on the chain. Using a small pair of nail clippers I keep for cleaning up metal figures, I cut the chain into 9 lengths of 3, 5 lengths of 2 and a couple of individual balls.

Once the glue was dry, I spread some more on top of the cardboard (leaving enough space for the barrels) and stuck the first layer of balls to the card, three sections of three balls in parallel lines. This was the trickiest bit, getting the balls close together in a straight line without sticking myself to the base.

Once these were dry, I added the second layer of two balls and (on one of the bases) a third layer of a single ball fixing them in place with superglue.

Now, the balls have two small holes for the wire that links them together. I should have filled these in before painting, but several coats of primer served the purpose. I painted the cannon balls Vallejo Dark Grey.

Next, I took the pre-painted barrels and stuck them to the bases.
I then used a spatula to put some 4Ground base render on the bases, trying not to plaster the side of the barrels.

The bases were then painted Army Painter Banshee Brown, and flocked.

Rubber Nightmares

Dave Sime makes some fiddly robots, and dedicates them to Jeremey!

Back a few years ago at a SELWG show I relieved Jeremey of the burden of taking back home his 9 box collection of VOTOMS Vol.02 Mechs, that had failed to sell in the Bring & Buy. As I recall, Jeremy did not have the time to carefully assemble them.

VOTOMS Mechs feature in a Japan anime series from the mid 1980’s. The series did not gain any traction outside of Japan. While a number of larger plastic models were produced during the series run, Takara Micro World produced a range of 1/144 scale models, probably in 2007.

At first glance in their box trays, just separate heads, trunks, arms, legs & weapons, pre-formed and painted, you think this is going to be a doddle. Alas NOT. They are made of some sort of soft ‘rubbery feel’ plastic which, even using my range of tweezers, were hard to grasp/control. They did not all fit together correctly, which required painstakingly slow micro surgery using the sharpest blades to correct. Even then some parts, especially the legs, would not stay in the correct position. The only adhesive that worked was rubber glue for the body parts, even then I had to wait for each part to set before continuing, and epoxy resin to adhere to the 2p coin bases. It actually took over two weeks to assemble them. When I had finished I thought never again !

They are 27mm in height, for representative scale purposes the first photograph includes a GZG 15mm figure I am currently painting, which is actually 17mm high and one of the crewmen for the mechs which are 14mm in height. In the anime each VOTOMS has a human operator who sits in the trunk. Depending on how Chris and I intend to use them, we can use them as mechs in Sci Fi games from 6mm to 15mm, possibly even at 28mm ? Crewed or not.

It was intended that they would have their debut at the Open Day end of June, but alas that’s not to be.

Feeling Limber

Andy limbers up (his joke, not mine – Ed).

My French troops for the Maximillian Adventure also see service in Osprey rule’s “In Her Majesty’s Name” and “Rebels and Patriots” games. Both rules allow field guns to have an upgrade of a limber team to increase mobility, and / or crew size.

I bought a Wargames Foundry Franco Prussian War French limber team and also picked up a spare limber (Minifigs) at a bring and buy or similar. So instead of building one four horse limber team, I built two, two horse limber teams.

Horses were painted in black, or various shades of brown. Horse furniture was black, saddle and saddle bags Saddle Brown, horse blanket Black Grey dry brushed Basalt Grey and cape London Grey dry brushed Light Grey.

Limbers were painted Beige Brown with an Army Painter Soft tone was and brass metalwork.
The crew men were painted the same way as the dismounted crew, although the outriders have cavalry boots rather than standard boots and gaiters.

Bases were painted AP Banshee Brown and patches of flock applied with PVA glue.

Here they are with guns attached.