Thursday, 11 October 2018

Pair of Orcs

I finished painting my pair of old orcs. When I started them I applied a fairly neutral bland pale green, then added some quite intense green, blue and yellow inks to create the different green tones. I did also apply some fairly basic highlights (just dots of a light beige) before glazing with the highlight tones. The interesting thing is how intense the figures started, but gradually toned down as more shading was applied and the rest of the figure was painted. If I was really radical I could probably replace my whole collection of paints with about a dozen paints and half a dozen inks.*

These figures date back to 1992. That was the year I started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle, with the boxed set containing plastic night goblins and elves. I loved the elves, the models were really nice and it probably stirred my inner Tolkien nerd. I also collected Undead, as they were easier to paint. I never really appreciated the greenskins, they seemed deliberately jokey and not to my taste - and anyway my brother collected those so I never gave them a second thought.

Fast forward to the start of this year, 2018, so that's about 26 years later. I had been up in the loft on the annual xmas decoration hunt, when I came across all my old White Dwarf magazines. I dragged them down and had a flick through, especially those very early issues when I first started gaming. It's definitely a nostalgia trip, and a lot of figures have been collected, painted, played with and sold down that quarter of a century. Somehow, I suddenly realised how much I missed the simplicity of those older models. Not the elves, they are covered in jewels and other details, but the orcs and goblins in particular struck me as very simple, but evocative. After scoring a couple of good deals on ebay and facebook, I had a handful of greenskins to add to Mount Unpainted. And now, ten months later, I have painted three of them. Maybe, in another 25 years, I will have them completed. The original post on the troll can be found here.



*Hmmmm, maybe this would be a good project for the new year?

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Orctober Orcs (and Dwarfs)

A quick post to show that I am still here, though painting has slowed due to holidays and work. Still, there is a little progress, this time on my Middlehammer projects.

These two orcs are part of a small collection I have accrued over the past year, from various places like ebay and facebook. My idea was to collect the models from 1992, the year I started playing Warhammer Fantasy Battle. It's proven to be very difficult to get the figures, I still have some holes in the collection, but I thought I would make a start anyway on the painting. I chose these two as they do not have shields, so I don't have to fret over how to handle them. They are quite close to completion already, they were joyfully easy to paint, mainly using inks in a little experiment.

And then there are the six dwarfs. These were started in September, I wanted to see how far I could get on small sessions and am documenting the time taken in each progress photo - hence the 57:00 minutes in the top left. Things are moving along on them and they too should be finished soon.

Eventually, I will have a good sized dwarf force and a smaller band of greenskins. My aim is a  fairly haphazard one of having enough troops to play Saga (about 50 or 60 per warband), with a longer term goal of them just growing until I have finished my collection. It's strange really that they mirror my other current project, painting orcs and dwarfs for Lord of the Rings - though they feel in aesthetics and painting style like completely different ranges.

Sunday, 16 September 2018

Mordor Marches Out

Finally. After a very long summer and numerous other distractions -  ten weeks after the last game - dice have been rolling again in Matt's dungeon. I wanted to play with my newly painted Mordor orcs, so we decided on a nice and easy game of Dragon Rampant. The game is really designed for smaller forces than we were using, so we added a few tweaks to accommodate the larger number of units - allowing a commander to fail three activation tests before ending his turn. We also relaxed the three inch rule for friendly units. And we just lined up our armies for a good old pitched battle rather than play one of the wacky scenarios from the booklet. Sometimes, especially as a Mordor orc, you just want to get stuck in and smash some bones. This photo shows most of my force deployed for the battle, just out of frame were a unit of six cowardly warg riders who behaved so badly in game they do not deserve to appear in this post!


Across the table were Faramir's brave men of Gondor. A lot less bodies than the orcs, though as you might expect, considerably more skilled in combat. And with both forces lined up and ready, we started playing. Dragon Rampant is a nice system for quick and easy games. Our tweaks worked well and we found that in most turns both players were able to activate most of their units. It wouldn't be Dragon Rampant without those infuriating (at times) activation fails, but the three fail rule cushioned the blow for the most part and it felt more like a conventional wargame to me.

Most of the fighting took place in the centre of the table, with the orcs rushing forward to a more conservative Gondor force. I made a deployment error, the troll hidden in the woods seemed like a good idea when I saw all the archers across the board, but three consecutive activation fails and then a slow slog through the woods meant he was wasted in game terms. Only towards the end of the game did the troll manage to finally smash some Gondor skulls.

The rest of the battle ebbed and flowed nicely, first one side seeming to have the upper hand, then the other seeming to take control. Pictures speak volumes, so here's a few to give a flavour of the action.










By the end of the battle, both sides had taken a considerable beating and fought to a stalemate. I think in terms of a "result" it was most likely a draw. But gaming is not about winning or losing, it's about getting your lovingly painted toys out of their box for a couple of hours to run round on some nice terrain.

I posted a couple of pictures on facebook and got a lot of compliments (and questions) on the terrain, which is nice but totally undeserved as it's all Matt's. The "board" is a faux fur fleece throw or blanket, oversprayed in part with cheap aerosol paints. The terrain is a mix of scratch-built and some items from Thomarillion.

More games to come in the future I hope. I am already thinking about how to beef up my orcs in some way and would like to add some black orcs. And with ONLY 99 DAYS to go until xmas, I may well be adding considerable reinforcements at that time. Faramir, what's that in the sky?

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Dwarf Warriors WIP

As I mentioned in my previous post, the dwarfs are back. Here are the first half of a planned unit of twelve. I seem to have taken so long to get together this small bunch, it's been two years since I started work on them, though only the one plastic warrior at the rear survives from that first attempt. I know a lot of people like the cartoonish, gnome-like figures of old. I do myself, in some cases. But I have always felt that basic dwarf infantry have been a bit, ahem, short changed. The fluff and artwork have always described them as hardy, well armed, doughty fighting warriors, but the models have always portrayed them more as bumbling oafs. I want my warriors to look battle-hardened, experienced and a bit grim.

These are a varied collection of many different generations of the dwarf. Front left and front centre are both Marauder dwarf figures from 1992 I believe. The centre figure had a strange pom-pom on his helmet, which I cut away and replaced with the banner top from the figure rear left, which then had a plastic bit from the current hammerers set. This will be the banner bearer of the unit, though originally it was a runesmith from around 2005 I would guess. The rear central figure is an old Anvil bodyguard, again from around 1992. And the drummer is a longbeard from the mid to late 1990's. So this one unit contains bits spreading over 25 years, which I find particularly fitting as it matches my time in the hobby.

It's been a long road to get here, but I finally feel happy with my initial selection. The second half of the unit will no doubt cause more headaches, but I can cross that bridge some other time. For now, I can get on with happy task of painting.

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

More dwarfs emerge

Dwarfs are on my mind at the moment. I have recently painted some for my Lord of the Rings collection and am also painting some on commission. It made me think back to my Dwarfs of Oakenhammer project, a loose collection of Warhammer dwarfs that I have acquired down the years. One thing sorely lacking from that force is a unit of basic warriors, something I have spent a lot of time pondering. I did make a start on some conversions, but I have my doubts about them. So I had a sort through my metals and decided that this would make a good start to a unit. It's a mixed bunch, but that's fine I think.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

More Mordor Orcs

I have recently been feeling a little frustrated at a lack of progress in my painting. I just don't seem to get much finished. There's plenty of half-painted figures around, but I wanted something quick and easy to do. I decided that Mordor orcs are about the fastest thing I can paint to completion so dug a handful of those out of the cupboard. I had almost sold these at one point, convinced I would never come back to them because I already have enough orcs for the type of games I play. But with the recent announcement on a Lord of the Rings starter box, they were in my mind, so I thought what the heck, you can never have too many maggots to throw at the enemy.

A while back* I wrote a tutorial on speed painting Mordor orcs, which proved useful to me here. I made a few tweaks this time around, priming a brown to hopefully speed the process, which did seem to work.

If you look closely you will see that there are a few variations in the unit. These are basic head and weapons swaps, but also the addition of a few extra bits from the Oathmark goblins set. Anything to try to avoid the cloned look of single pose figures.


After three or four painting sessions, the orcs were complete. They are not prize winning paint jobs by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, they are little more than base coat and wash. But they are fifteen figures that were unpainted, now painted to add to my tally. And that's a good feeling after recent hobby apathy.

Lumping all the Mordor orcs together there's around fifty of the maggots now. With all my other orcs, there's at least a hundred of them painted and ready to battle. There's a certain quality to be had in a large quantity of troops.

*May 2013 in fact, more than five years ago - where do those years go?
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