Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Dwarf Hammers WIP

It's been a while since my last update. I spent a week on holiday, with no models and no wifi, for a complete recharge of the batteries. On return, I started work on the next unit for the Dwarves army. These are plastic models, though with limited options to build them as is more the norm these days. I don't mind so much, as most of these are really nicely posed. I particularly like the more relaxed poses of the front two rows, they look calm but menacing! It would be nice to have them painted by month end, but that might be optimistic. We shall see.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Dwarves Archers and Ballista

The past few months have been a bit lean in terms of hobby output, so the other week I took myself to one side and had a little chat with myself. I wanted to get something done in a relatively short time. I set myself the goal of painting for half an hour per day. Over a couple of weeks I managed about ten sessions and during that brief period was able to get these stout little warriors added to my army. Little and often, as a wise friend told me.

You will note that these are Dwarves of Middle Earth, not Warhammer Dwarfs. They are all metal figures, no longer available unless you hunt them down on ebay. There's only three poses each of the archers, and that's pretty obvious in this photo, but my idea is to eventually add in some plastic archers to increase variety in the unit. The ballista is a nice model, I have seen something almost identical to this at a Roman (historical re-enactment) camp. Though I seem to have stuck the front piece on backwards - not sure I would make it as a dwarf engineer!

The kilts tie them into my existing dwarf units, though I am unsure about the green and wonder if I should have stuck with blue. My thinking at the time was that archers would be creeping through the undergrowth to sneak up on their enemy and so would be more camouflaged than flamboyant. From that point I decided that all my missile units would be green clothed. All my warrior units wear blue kilts, and perhaps all my elite units will wear red. We shall soon see, because more dwarves are on the way.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Skaven Warlord

This is Skaven Warlord Spinetail, from Games Workshop of course. I wanted to paint a metal model and was pleased to see that some of the range is still available online.

He is a birthday present for my brother. Years ago, it was with my two brothers that I first started playing Warhammer. We started with fourth edition, plastic elves and goblins, but then we all developed our own favourites. My brother collected quite a few orcs and goblins, and a number of skaven. It's hard to track down the older models, which would have been nice I guess, though I think this sculpt is a real beauty. In twenty years time this will be a sought after classic!

As neither of us really game that much these days, I built the figure on a little display base. This is a piece of oak timber given to me by a neighbour, cut down to size and sanded. Originally it was varnished so that the grain was showing, but it didn't really suit the figure, so now it's painted. It's been a nice change of pace to the usual regiments I paint.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Victrix Vikings second render

I am quickly becoming a Victrix fanboy - a Vicboy, a fanrix? I grabbed the image of the second viking render from their facebook page. A good dynamic pose which works particularly well with the axe and spear, in my opinion. It's nice to see a plain and simple tunic to build those bondi.

There was also some news released by Games Workshop about their Strategy Battle Game. It seems that the title will finally be re-released and renamed Middle Earth Strategy Battle Game, opening up possibilities for lots of non-film related content. And they are also releasing "something big", entitled Battle of Pelennor Fields. The full press release here - scroll to the end - though it's a bit cryptic at the moment. Guessing hats on.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

War of the Dwarves and Orcs

Hobby time has been neglected recently - good weather is a rarity in the north of England and a particularly fine May has seen me out and about in the local woods and mountains rather than hunched over a paintbrush like a proper nerd. I have also failed to find something to really inspire me, until now that is....

Lord of the Rings was my way into the world of fantasy. Many, many years ago I read the trilogy when I was still at school. It was one of the reasons I drifted into the world of fantasy gaming, though predominantly this was a Warhammer adventure. Lately, I have come to like the aesthetic of the Middle Earth miniatures more and more. I have a fairly haphazard collection of orcs, uruk-hai, Rohan and Dwarves - and enjoyed a few games of Strategy Battle Game and War of the Ring, as well as using the figures in games of Dragon Rampant. Now, I am developing a little ruleset of my own, and am building the system around a piece of lore that fits my collection. Welcome to this short article on the War of the Dwarves and Orcs.

The conflict started with the arrival of Smaug the dragon at the Dwarf kingdom of Erebor. Thror, King under the Mountain and his dwarf warriors were no match for the serpent and were forced to flee their stronghold, wandering the wilds until finally settling in Dunland. After twenty years of living in poverty, Thror set off with his friend Nar, to look upon the ancestral hold of Khazad-Dum, also known as Moria. Fearing it was occupied by orcs, Nar pleaded with Thror, but the old king was adamant and entered the former stronghold. For days, Nar kept watch at the east gate, until finally his worst fears were realised. Azog the Orc Chieftain had captured Thror, branded his head with his own name and tossed it out the gate. He allowed Nar to live, to return to his kinfolk to warn them to stay away from Moria. Nar delivered this message to Thrain, Thror's son, who brooded for a week before deciding his father should be avenged. And thus the war started, a simple tale of revenge and bloodshed.

Thrain travelled to the other six great dwarf houses, mustering a huge dwarf army over a period of three years. They then marched to war, systematically sacking and destroying every orc hold they could find in the Misty Mountains, from Gundabad in the north, to the Gladden in the south.

After six long years of battle, the War came to a climax at the Gates of Moria, where it had all started. Known as the Battle of Azanulzibar, it was here that Thorin gained his name Oakenshield, forced to use an oak branch when his shield shattered. It was only the late arrival of a contingent of dwarves from the Iron Hills that swung the battle for the dwarves. Nain the king of the Iron Hill dwarves was slain by the orc chief, Azog. It was Nain's son, Dain, who finally brought down the hated foe, swinging his red axe to decapitate the great brute. The orcs fled the battlefield. And thus the war that had started with a dwarf losing his head was ended with an orc decapitation!

The victory was bought at great cost to the dwarves. They had lost at least half of their force. There were so many dead that they were unable to bury them in tombs as was their tradition. Instead, they cut down the trees in the dale to build huge pyres to burn their fallen.

Thrain wanted to enter Moria to retake the fabled dwarf stronghold, but his companions had suffered too many losses. The dwarves returned home to their holds. Thrain and his son Thorin returned to wandering Dunland, while Dain returned as the new king of the Iron Hills. Their paths would meet again at Erebor in the Battle of Five Armies, as told in The Hobbit.

What a stirring tale! Epic in nature, with so many tales untold, so many battles to ponder over. This has really got my imagination fired. The hobby lull is most definitely over. Expect more dwarfish activity very soon.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Victrix Vikings

News has been trickling out over the past few weeks that Victrix Miniatures are moving into a new era - the dark ages. It seems that the first range will be Vikings. I have also read that Saxons and Normans are to be produced.

Now we have a little more detail announced on the Victrix facebook page. The box will contain a mix of armoured and unarmoured warriors, four of each on a sprue. There's usually six sprues in a set, plus extras on a command sprue, so about 50 models in a pack. Enough to man a viking longboat!

The release date is sketchy, I suspect that they are not even sure themselves as yet. I might have read late 2018 somewhere. This picture shows one of the body sculpts coupled with different head and arm options.

For me, this is just the ticket. I can look forward to well sculpted, affordable minis. If the rumoured Saxons and Normans are anything like this first view, I will be knee deep in dark ages minis.
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