Friday, April 30, 2010

Bath day

As you all know, dwarves do not bathe as often as the other races would like. You wouldn't either if you saw the things lurking in the pools of water deep underground.

In any case, the dwarves have had their first lot of washes.

Badab black went all over the ranger cloaks, the arrows and on the armour. This helps dull down the splotchiness of the cloaks a little, as well as making them closer to the board colour. As for the armour, it really helps pick out the joins in the armour. The arrows darken a little to distinguish their brown from all the other browns on the dwarves.

I wish my camera could take extreme close-ups, you're all going to have to wait for the next battle report for close-ups when my brother brings his camera around. Hopefully you can still see the difference, though the flash diminishes the look substantially.

In any case, the armour will get another touch-up with mithril silver in the middle of each armour plate to bring back the shininess. The cloaks will get another wash, but this time only in the folds and recesses to try and restore some of the 3-dness of them.

The faces and hands got a wash with some Ogryn Flesh. It really darkens them a lot and lets you see cheekbones, eyesockets and the lines between their fingers. Next I'll go back and put bits of Dwarf Flesh on the raised areas, cheekbones, nose, forehead. It's much lighter than the washed flesh so this will help add more definition to them.

Lastly some Devlan Mud was washed on their grey trousers and arrow fletching. I used brown wash on the trousers instead of black just to distinguish them a little from the cloaks.

They're looking nice now, and I could play with them without feeling too pathetic, but they're definitely not finished to where I want them to be. I still have the faces to do properly, eyes on the ones that have them showing. Another two layers on the beards. Highlights and washes on the purple. Armour re-touching. Weapon highlighting. All of the browns need highlights and washes. The shields I haven't even started on yet.

Oh... and these guys...

The guys with the big axes are Khazad Guard, they are as tough as a warrior with a shield, but have more strength (which makes it easier to wound guys) and throwing axes (which gives them a very short range ranged attack). They also choose a hero to be "bodyguard" to. While that hero is alive they don't have to roll for courage.

The guys with the two weapons are Iron Guard. They are as tough as a normal warrior, but have more strength and also get two attacks. They also have throwing axes.

I'm not sure yet whether I'll spread them throughout my forces or keep them together for small squads of hitting power. The lack of mobility (dwarves move pretty slowly) kinda takes away from any speed flanking that cavalry type guys can do. Anyway, you might not be able to see from the shiny shot, but they have face masks to help distinguish them from their colleagues. These are cool because I don't have to paint faces with them!

And, of course, Etako (Balin) when he arrives in the mail. Blame the volcano for his delay =)

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Although I prefer the chocolate kind of brownies for eating, I'm quite happy that the dwarves now have brown boots, weapon hafts, bows, pouches, belts, etc.

My wife had to work back late last night, so I got more painting done than I thought I would.

They are just a couple of steps away from what I'd call the most basic tabletop versions. Just have to do the fletching on the arrows and their trousers now.

Although the amount of painting with each step seems to diminish, the time taken doesn't. As you get to paint areas that are bordered by bits you've already painted you have to go quite slowly so that you don't go "over the lines". I am using a 5/0 brush for all of this work (except for the initial greys on the cloak and bases, that was just an old brush.

There were still a few times when I strayed into the wrong colour territory, so a little neatening up work will happen when I do the highlighting.

Speaking of which, after I do the fletching and pants it'll be on to highlighting, washing and detail work.

The fletching I'll be doing in the same way as the prototype dwarf (see back a few posts) so a basecoat of foundation astronomican grey followed by some mud washes. The pants are just codex grey.

The brown step really took them one big step towards looking completed. From slightly above there is almost no more black on them (except the archers).

Anyway, better get on with this painting! I want to get them done in time to face off against my brother's new Mumak! (

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dwarves have been a-mining.

Been a little unwell these last few days, so painting slowed to a crawl. Still, the dwarves have been mining for long enough to smith some metal weapons and armour.

They're almost there now! Just gotta do the browns and grey pants. Oh, and the couple of horns on helmets. I think that'll bring it to a single coat of paint on all surfaces.

Oh, and here's a close-up, I think some of them are even in focus =)

This is one of those moments where it seems like batch painting is a stupid dumb idea. Been going for more than a week with no finished miniatures. Just keep telling myself that it won't be long until I'll suddenly have 48 in one short period of time.

Getting more of the metals now, 6 Khazad Guard, 6 Iron Guard and Balin is in the post. I'll be painting them individually rather than batch painting them. Probably. Balin will certainly get an individual paint job.

I should also remind people that they can click on any of the pictures to get a bigger version.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Colour Purple

Well, the dwarves have now had their jerkins and tunics purplefied.

For those wondering about timing, it was about 5 hours for the purple painting. That included some lunch, snacks, youtube watching etc. So who knows how it'd be if I just sat and barrelled through.

I find that my back gets a bit sore after a while, so I can't just sit and do them.

Next it'll be the boltgun metal on all of the metal stuff, weapons, armour, arrowheads etc. Later I'll make some things bronze, some shiny metal, some dull metal to distinguish it a bit, but not on the first go-over!

Monday, April 26, 2010


Didn't spend ages today either, but did the beards and hair.
Doing four different colourings (I think).
Today I just did the first coat.

One has Dark Flesh which I think will end up being red/orange.
Another has Bestial Brown, which will be a brown colour overall.
Another has Khommando Khaki, which will come up to blondish.
Lastly Codex Grey, which will be grey/white when it's done.

I usually do two/three layers of hair colour for batch painted guys.

So I basically started with the dwarf in the far left corner, painted his beard Dark Flesh, then skipped three dwarves and did the next Dark Flesh, then skipped three more etc. etc.

After that I just did the ones next to the Dark Flesh ones with Bestial Brown... you get the idea.
I work from the top left towards the front right for several reasons.

Firstly I don't then reach past already painted minis to get the next one.

Secondly it means I start with the furthest and work my way closer, psychologically I find it's better that way.

When painting this many guys I find the psychological barriers are pretty high. You see so little progress when you just look at one of them and start to think that you're never going to finish.

I must admit, that blogging the progress is a great motivator, even if nobody read it, it would still be a good idea to keep on task. It also means that you are aware of the progress you're making.

Anyway here's a close up (again, sorry about the camera) of the four types of hair.

The Khaki was the worst one to do, it's so thin compared to the others when it comes to covering black. I just made sure that there was a decent amount in the "depths" of the beard. Although the surface coverage isn't so good, it's the higher parts that will have another layer or two of paint, so it's more important to get the darker colour well covering the deeper parts of the beards.

It's also doing this step that makes you really see the difference between metal minis and these plastic ones. The details blur into each other a lot on these. Often it'll be just the paint colours that differentiate where one thing ends and the next begins.

The metal minis, however, are so well constructed that they are a real joy to paint. That's why I save them until last, sort of a reward for having done the rank and file. Also it means I'll have worked out which colour combinations worked and which didn't!

Oh, speaking of metal minis, I won an e-bay auction for Balin today, at about a quarter of the GW cost. It's shipping from Britain (I'm in Australia) so you won't see him for a few days. He's going to be my Etako, with the outstretched hand converted into a gauntlet (by either replacement or greenstuff) and I'll pop an eyepatch on him too.

Then he can join the silver Khazads that you see lurking in the background sometimes.

Anyway, tomorrow it'll be on to the purple.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Skinning Dwarves

Blog title just sounds plain nasty doesn't it?!

Didn't have a lot of time to work on the dwarves today, but more time than I thought I'd have.

Did the drybrushing of Fortress Grey over the ground and dabbed it on the Ranger cloaks.

Almost forgot to WIP picture it, so you can see the back row of dwarves are already skinned.

I'm still not sure about the cloaks. They look really well camoflaged but also look like a horrible mess. Can't really have it both ways I suppose.

So why did I choose to do the skin tone next? Good question. Don't really have an answer. I guess I like to see their faces a little. I used a smallish brush, but wasn't too careful, still have to do all the adjacent parts anyway so doesn't really matter if I have to paint over some splashed out face or hands.

I used Tallarn Flesh foundation as the skin tone. I've found for quick jobs a coat of it really covers the black well and then you can be lazy and use a couple of washes to get a table top look pretty quickly. I often then highlight with a touch of dwarf flesh then wash again to make it a little nicer.

These 24 pack plastic dwarves are a bit dodgy sometimes in the way they're put together, so some of the detail is blurred out. It's particularly hard with the eyes. Some of them just don't really have eyes. We'll see about the eyes (pun intended) when we get there, a long way yet!

Anyway, I watered down the Tallarn Flesh a fair bit, it really seems quite "chunky" out of the pot and even thinned it covers the black brilliantly. You can see up the back I've got three metal Khazad Guards, cheap e-bay pick-up that I'm glad I got. The other metals I'm going to have to get from GW if I can't find them elsewhere, which means more cost, even though I won't be getting many metals at this stage.

Yet to decide on the model I'll use to make Etako.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Banner Bearer

Just a quick addendum to the prototype dwarf.
I decided to do the banner bearer too, as the banner kept getting in the way when reaching across for the next mini to do.
Photos are a little blurry, but the dwarven symbols on the top spell Etako and the central circle bit is meant to be a clenched fist, but looks like a lot of squiggly black dots instead. Might paint over and have another go at it at some point.
The standard is in silver and gold, the bearer is in silver and bronze.

And from the back...

And now you'll have to be patient for more photos. Here's the mob with their bases codex grey. Now I'm going to kick back and paint 46 bases with a highlight of Fortress Grey. Fun, fun, fun!

On the plus side, since I've already done one archer, there's one fewer of them. I don't like archers. I know you need them in your army when you've got short, stumpy legs. But, they just rub me all the wrong way. You know what I'm saying, they're just a little too, well, "elvish".

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Prototype this...

Well, time to get down to the nitty gritty now.

When I sprayed the dwarves I used a very slightly different method than when I'd done my goblins. With the goblins I got a big flat surface (the lid of the Mines of Moria set) and put them all in rows on it. When I sprayed I found that the goblins towards the middle of the board weren't done quite as well.

This time I put them in rows on box edges so it was much easier to get the front and backs sprayed.

Then I transferred the little guys to their paint pots. Oh, some other things I learnt. Twist them off rather than pulling, that way the blu-tac comes away more easily from the cardboard without tearing bits of paper and cardboard off.

As you can see in the picture below, I arranged them in order.
They're standing next to their "twin", I think that'll make it easier, at least a little, for my brain as it goes through them.
They're also standing so that all the rangers with their cloaks are together.
Oh, and all the archers are standing together too.
Again, I figure any small repetition will make life easier. This way I can just work my way through them assembly style.

Sorry for the photo quality too, but using my ancient camera rather than the much nicer camera my brother brings around for our games.

Anyway, I know lots of you want to see the first painted dwarf, so before I started batching them I picked a ranger out and painted him up.

It took me three hours, but that's because I'm very slow, not because the job was complicated!

I've done one coat and a little highlighting, but not much. I'm still mucking around with the purple highlighting. Went for Liche Purple mixed with Fortress Grey, but was a bit pinkish to start with. Not to mention a bit of a pain to do for so many minis. So yet to decide what to do with that yet.

I can't remember how I did the Mad Cat (see pic in previous post) but I think I may have used some Warlock Purple and then washed it down with some Leviathan. Anyway, will do some experiments on that. Maybe I should mix it with Codex for a darker look.

Well there's the prototype on the board. I'm pretty happy with the camo cloak, blends in nicely with the board.

As I said, simple techniques here...
Liche purple for the purple. Highlighted (not much) as described above.
Scorched brown for the browns. Then either some Snakebite Leather or Bestial Brown drybrushed on.
Boltgun metal for the metal followed by a bit of Chainmail for highlight.
Tallarn Flesh for the skin, followed by multiple washes of Ogryn Flesh then a little highlight of Dwarf Flesh, then some more washing.
Astronomican Grey for the hair and arrow fletching. Washes of Gryphonne Sepia for the hair (lots of them), Devlan Mud for the arrow fletching (two or three washes).
The cloak was just splodged here and there by Codex Grey and Fortress Grey and then dotted a bit with Chaos Black randomly (even though there was still some showing from the undercoat). Then a few washes with Badab Black. It looks quite messy close up, but looks better from a distance.

Side view.

Back view.

Oh yeah, the topknot was a bit of beard from another dwarf that I stuck on his bald head.

So as you can see, quite a simple paintjob, only one level of highlights, probably all I can handle with 48 of them. I'll spend more time and effort on Etako himself (when I work out what to do to model him) and the Khazad and Iron Guard (when I get around to getting them).

Oh, I should also mention that the lighting makes everything a little bright. The purple is actually a bit darker IRL.

The only real difference between these guys and the warriors is that the warriors have helmets and armour. That's good for me, less skin, less hair = more easiness! I'll be keeping them purple and silvery metal for the general troops, then using bronzes and golds for the elites.

I'm pretty happy with the effort, paints straight from the pots, no mixing or fancy techniques, so should be easy to do. Note, not quick, I've already mentioned that I'm a bit slow at this stuff!

They're blaaaack.

Spray primed them all black this morning. Super busy day, hopefully tomorrow I'll get through the bases.

In the meanwhile I wanted to give you the back story of Etako Ironfist and his clan of Dwarves from the South. (No Australian bias towards things from the south at all, honest!)

This is a rough summary of the history of the clan...

Etako Ironfist.

In times of yore, in the far East of Middle Earth there did Dwarf fathers awaken in the mountains called Orocarni, the Red Mountains. The Ironfists were one such group. They mined and dwelt in the southern parts of the Orocarni, far to the East of the Ered Lithui, the Ash Mountains.

Sometimes traders with the Rhun people, more often they fought to protect their metalcrafts and precious stones from raiders. Etako I of the Ironfist dwarves was a trader, and would often journey as far to the West as the great inland Sea of Rhun.

The locals there were often referred to as Easterlings, which became a joke amongst the dwarves that folk to the west would be called such. The Easterlings, particularly their leaders, prized highly the strong, gleaming armour that the dwarves could construct.

On one trade journey, Etako I and his retinue (numbering almost one hundred) were betrayed, drugged and captured by an Easterling King, who wished to enslave them and force them to create armour for his armies.

The mountains to the south-west of the Sea of Rhun was mined and the dwarves forced to smith the metals into fine suits of mail. The trading had been going on for almost two centuries and had been deemed safe enough even for the dwarven womenfolk to accompany their husbands. The Easterlings held the women hostage, allowing the menfolk to meet with them once a year at “The Reunion”.

Etako I was 255 when captured, in about the year 1950 (some years before Durin VI was slain by balrog). He swore that they would wreak revenge on the men and free themselves. Patient, but with a hidden fire within, the dwarves worked hard. Etako had his craftsmen engineer a single flaw in amongst the thousands of chain links and scale plates of each set of armour. As well as this, at the yearly Reunion, each dwarf husband would secretly give to his wife a small amount of poisonous metal. The dwarves were searched thoroughly at each meeting, but held the metal under their tongue.

In this way they worked, toiling for nearly thirty years. Etako was old, made still older by the yearly poisoning. For the poison worked on dwarf as well as man, and the dwarves were feeling the effects. When Etako knew that he would not survive another trip, it was time to act. At the Reunion he had his married men instruct their wives to use the small stockpile of poison. While the dwarves Reunited, the human men would come together from their various places of power to feast.

The dwarven wives slipped poison into the food and wine of the feasting humans. The dwarven men, many well past their prime and weakened from years of slow poisoning, took up what weapons they could. Etako had secretly crafted for himself a mighty gauntlet, for he was a powerful smith among his people.
Slipping easily from their locked quarters (what lock can hold an angry dwarf?), the dwarven men spread out around the feasting halls of the Easterling Lords. The dwarven wives slipped away to the mines and smithing halls to rouse the unwed and younger dwarves.

The Ironfist Gauntlet (for Etako was not a powerful wordsmith) was raised and then lowered in signal. Breaking into the feasting halls, the Easterling Lords, resplendent in their shining dwarven made armour rose to their feet, only to feel the room swaying around them – the effects of the poison.

The battle was brutal and short. The dwarves knew the weak links in the armour, but were old and infirm. The Easterling Lords were in their prime, but poisoned and surprised. Etako himself rose against the Great Easterling King and with one mighty blow, the Ironfist Gauntlet smote the ruler to the ground. Having avenged himself, he threw himself into the combat with scant thought for safety. The Ironfist Gauntlet sent men flying through the air, often crashing into one another.

By the time the womenfolk returned with the rest of the dwarves the battle was over. All were dead and dying. Sounds were coming from the rest of the Easterling Camp, the retinues and armies that accompanied their leaders.

Taking up weapons and what armour fit them, the dwarves fled to their mining tunnels. There Etako II led his folk, still keening his father’s death, and the deaths of the many other elders. For he had been tunnelling more than mining and had broken through to an underground system of rivers and caves. Etako II wielded the Ironfist Gauntlet, taken from his dying father’s hand. He slew many Easterlings with no weapon but the gauntlet, clad in mighty mail that his father had wrought for him in secret.

While he fought at the rear of the dwarves, those at the front found Etako’s tunnels and stores of provisions, squirreled away over the decades. Reaching a singular doorway, carved by his own hands, Etako II kept the Easterlings at bay while others from his fighting band used secret tunnels and hidden mechanisms to bring the tunnel system collapsing down.

Etako II was lost beneath the rubble, but was dug out from beneath it. Crippled for the rest of his life, Etako Shieldborne was lifted from the rubble and hoisted onto a shield, carried by his dearest comrades. He led his people through the underground tunnels.

The tunnel system led south, towards Mordor. And far below the ash wastes the dwarves travelled. There were many perils, often toxic water, orcs, spiders and worse, unthinkable horrors in the dark. Still the dwarves travelled onwards, always believing that they would soon surface, knowing that they could not while such evil lay above them.

Eventually the tunnel system did start to trend upwards and although water seemed much scarcer, it was cleaner. The evil beings that had plagued them for so long also seemed to attack much less frequently.
Eventually, in the 2200s after more than 200 years underground fighting and surviving, Etako II, now an old, frail dwarf, led his people to the surface. They had travelled far to the south and emerged in a deep chasm in the Nafarat. There was no great mountain range, rearing upwards into the sky either. Instead, the land about them was desert, sand, hills, dunes as far as they could see.

The chasm that they emerged into was part of a great canyon system, invisible from the surface as it was all carved into the ground. In many places it was more than a mile deep. There was water here too, cool pools of it, small rivulets that had slowly been carving their way through the rock and stone.

In many places the waters, having travelled far, rushed in torrents and exposed gemstones and seams of metals and minerals in the walls. In other places, the detritus left by the water was gold and other precious things.

Etako Shieldborne lived long enough to see the sky and the glittering bands of metals on the high walls on either side of him before breathing his last.

The Ironfist dwarves discussed long and hard whether to trek back to the north and their ancestral homes or stay and carve a new life in the South. Legend has it that Etako III is to have settled the argument by settling the Ironfist Gauntlet on his mighty fist and driving it hard into a chasm wall, when he withdrew his fist and opened the gauntlet, there inside was a gem the likes of which they had never before seen, turquoise in colouring, yet it seemed lit from within.

Since that day the dwarves have made their homes in the deep canyons. In the hundreds of years since settling there they have cautiously dealt with the aboveground human Harad people. Often this has been in the form of warfare, occasionally trade. In recent times the Harad seem more bent on battle than ever before.

In the depths of the tunnels, evil creatures once more are stirring, raids with goblins, emerging from previously vacant tunnels are becoming more common.

Etako VII now leads, called Etako Ironfist, Etako Trollbane or Etako One-eye. Slayer of a great Cave Troll, he found that the only thing harder than a cave troll’s skull was the Ironfist Gauntlet. Gauntlet in one hand, throwing axe in the other, he flung the axe with all his might, then leapt towards the troll. The throwing axe bounced off the cave troll’s thick head and rebounded into Etako’s face. Pain lending fury to his blow, he felled the troll with one enormous punch, knocking the mighty beast into the air before it crashed to the ground several meters away! He lost an eye, but gained two names and decided to call it even.

A mighty warrior, with the strength leant by the master crafted gauntlet. Unfortunately his depth perception never recovered enough to use throwing axes or bows ever again.

Etako Ironfist: 95 points
F/S/D/A/W/C  M/W/F 
6/5/8/2/3/6  3/2/1

Etako is clad in specially crafted mail and wields the Ironfist Gauntlet which makes him particularly hardy and strong. He also uses a one handed weapon in his other hand. He may not use a two handed weapon or any ranged weapon.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Dwarves are based and just a bit converted.

Well, today was a busy day, so my initial plan of basing in the morning then spraying in the afternoon went more like, throughout the day get them converted and based. Will spray tomorrow.

I didn't make many changes to them. Wussed out on greenstuffing etc. Instead I hacked up some leftover bits from dwarves and some undead guys from Warhammer. I also chopped and changed the axe-heads so that two guys in identical poses won't have identical axes. I left the archers all as they were, I don't really use a lot of archery. I also left the throwing axe guys as they were, they all have identical axes so it was a bit hard to see what to do there. I won't use them for more than filling up points values anyway.

You sure learn a lot about the evils of superglue when you do this sort of work. Here you can see some of the blu-tac used to keep guys steady. On the left is my banner bearer, originally a 2 hander. The banner is on the right and is currently upside down. As you can see, it is a mix and match of different bannery type stuff. The central black bit of sprue will eventually have a dwarf character on it or something.

The guy in the middle is a 2-handed guy who now has a good old spiky ball and chain instead of an axe.

I found that the plastic used for the LotR minis is not as good as the Warhammer stuff, it cuts really easily, bends too easily and everything is smaller, making things trickier than I'd thought. As I mentioned before, the plus side is that you get more minis per dollar.

Here below you see my oh-so-high-tech basing technique. You get an old salsa jar. You fill it with really cheap aquarium sand (a couple of dollars for several kilos of it). A bit of PVA on the base, spread with a brush, then dunk 'em in the pot. I rotate them through, so that each guy sits in the sand for however long it takes me to glue and base three others, then he comes out, a new one goes in and the rotation continues.

It took probably two Star Trek episodes worth of time to do them all. I'm not a quick worker, I had lunch at the same time, so we're not talking speedy here. Speaking of Star Trek, I always have something playing in the background when doing this sort of work. Old DVDs, TV episodes, even just music is good to keep you chugging away.

Here they are all sanded up. The PVA I'm using this time seems much weaker than the one I used before, so I'm going to leave them overnight to make sure it has set properly. I use superglue for the actual miniature conversions and sticking them to the base, but just PVA for the sand.

Here's the banner bearer and some of his mates.

Here are the shield guys. They're each standing next to their previous identical twin. On the left I just swapped axe heads. Number 3 and 4 also have different axe heads. Five has a pick-axe, six is standing on a rock. Seven has a double headed axe (hidden a bit behind six's shield) and eight is just plain vanilla except for the addition of horns on his helmet.

Here are the two handers again. Standing behind them are their twins. The first guy on the left I've given a two handed sword to (well, it was a one handed Warhammer sword, but it's big enough for him to use both hands!) Spiky ball guy is next in line, banner guy is behind his twin, lastly we have warhammer dwarf. Again, a one handed Warhammer weapon here is plenty big enough for this dwarf!

I found with some of the trickier gluing, that some superglue I'd accidentally spilled (on newspaper of course) had gone stickier than fresh stuff, which made gluing them much MUCH easier. Still, the banner was the hardest of the lot, so slippery to get so that the bottom, middle and top all lined up. Getting the other weapons to line up with where they should was hard too, especially given how small everything is!

Lastly the 2-handed rangers. Again there was some axe-head swapping, a warhammer on the second from the left and that was about it for them. In the group shots you might notice a couple of guys with horns on their helmets. So fiddly and most of the minis aren't in a position where I could easily attach horns (eg. weapon held above their head) so there are just a couple of them.

Well after basing them and letting them sit for long enough to do some housework I got a paperclip, unbent it a bit and then cleaned up all of their shoes. I know you never really see their shoes, but I don't like them having sand all over them. I also added some rocks for scenery, about one in four dwarves gets an extra big rock on their base. Enough for some variety, not enough to make it look like they're walking through Boulderville Central.

Tomorrow, weather permitting, will be spray-black undercoating day. Then my plan is to do the grey drybrushing of the bases (last time I saved it until last and got lots of grey-legged goblins).

After that I'll pick a colour and see what happens =)

Enter the Dwarves

Well, it's been a month since I last constructed stuff and over a year since my last mini purchase, so it felt about right to stave off more boredom with more minis!

I've always preferred dwarves to other races in all fantasy games. So why have I got so many goblins? Well, I got a ton of them with the Mines of Moria original purchase! Who better to combat goblins than dwarves?!

So today we (my wife and I) headed over to the other side of the city for some bathroom tiles (a far more boring construction job) and on the way back I picked up two boxes of dwarves. I'll be batch-painting them, so they won't be awesomely painted like some people have done, but it'll be much, MUCH faster than individual painting! Well, for me, I think I'm a bit slower than many of you out there at this sort of work.

At some stage I'll get some of the metal minis (they're much better sculpted and detailed) but they're a lot pricier and they didn't have any in the store, so for now it'll just be the plastics. I already have a Gimli, so will still be able to field an army. I'd just like a Dwarf King and some of the tougher Khazad Guard and Iron Guard and maybe some Vault Wardens and... Eventually =)

As you can see in the above image I've got a bit of stuff lying around. There are four sprues of dwarves from Lord of the Rings and some leftover bits from some old Warhammer dwarves etc. that I might also play around with adding for some flavour.

One box of hardy, stoic, Dwarven warriors. 8 with bow, 8 with two handed axes, 8 with hand axe and shield.

And one box of stealthy, resourceful, Dwarven rangers. 8 with longbow, 8 with throwing axes and 8 with two handed axes.

You know I'm not a power gamer, so I'll be putting these together in a way I think is cool, rather than trying to get maximum effectiveness.

The gist of my plan? Glad you asked. I fight my brother's Haradrim often enough and so we talk about the goblins having come up from deep tunnels, having spread all the way from the far distant North. On the maps of Harad there are a couple of singular mountains or something like that.

So what we have here are a lost tribe of dwarves, that originally tracked down to the South in search of precious metals (what else) and were separated long ago by the hordes of goblins, some cave-ins etc. So they are Southern Dwarves and might not fit the traditions of their Northern brethren.

When Gimli and Legolas do their grand tour after the War of the Ring, I'm sure they encountered these guys =) So, what does this all mean? Well, I think I'll be adding some warhammers, some picks and some swords to the weapons the dwarves use. I really like all the extra bits and stuff in the warhammer kits, you get less minis per dollar, but a whole lot of extra stuff. Unfortunately the sizes are slightly different scale-wise so I guess we'll just see how it goes.

With the minis, there are 8 of each type, but it is two lots of four, so some customisation will help in not making them too similar. I know in practice it's not actually such a big deal, after all, I must have 5 or 6 of each type of goblin by now! But these guys cost almost twice as many points to play with, so you'll sort of see them more as individuals than the gobs.

These are the paint pots that I'll be using to stick the minis on as I batch paint them. That's right, 48 of them. A bit of blu-tac on the base of each mini and they'll be spending quite a bit of time perched up there. I'm sorry it won't be as comfortable for them, but they're dwarves, they can hack it!

Here are the colours I've selected for painting. When I batched the goblins I got out the main colours and a highlight then afterwards (if I could be bothered) I did more detailed touching up. So, what colours will I be using?

Well I put together this Mad Cat not long ago. I've always had a liking for purple, and my wife suggested perhaps a turquoise for a highlight rather than a more "traditional" yellow or gold. I figure that being way down south and nearer the coast, and a source of purple (which I believe back in the days of yore was obtained from crushing particular types of shellfish, hence its rarity) I would do similar (but a bit darker) purple for the dwarves.

I know most do red/blue or green for theirs so I just wanted to try something a little different.We'll see how it all goes anyway!

The rangers will have grey cloaks, I'm hoping to make them blend in with the game board and bases.

So purple clothing, silver/mithril armour. And, of course, a selection of greybeards, redbeards and brownbeards.

So spent the afternoon removing them from their sprues with clippers, then using a sharp craft knife to neaten up the inevitable bits left on them. Once that was done I got out the superglue and stuck them on their bases. Although it looks like they're all half up on rocks in the picture above, they're not, just five or six of them, but I did them near the end, so they're near the front of the group.

Dinner time now, so the glue will set overnight. Tomorrow I'll (hopefully) get on to using some PVA glue on the bases and getting the sand on them. That'll be fun. And hardly repetitive at all. It'll all be a little repetitive. Repetitive? Yes, a bit repetitive. That's what it'll be.

I remember with the goblins going through several stages.
1. Goblins, how awesome, gnash gnash, stab stab, gobliny goodness.
2. Ooh, look at them all, how cool will they look when they're all painted up on the board!
3. Clip - clip, wow, there are a lot of them aren't there.
4. I'm never going to finish.
5. Wow, after painting this layer they don't look anywhere near as good as I thought.
6. Repeat step 5 for each of the first layers of colour.
7. Well, this highlight colour will make the difference.
8. Repeat step 5 for each of the highlight colours.
9. What a waste of time and effort. Oh well, I guess I'll do the final touches anyway.
10. Hey (insert random visitor here) check out how much difference these final few touches make!
11. Woohoo! They're AWESOME!
12. I'm NEVER going to go through that again.
13. Hmm. I wonder how cool it would be to have an army of (insert other figure type here).


So stay tuned. I'll try and record them step by step for...
a) posterity
b) sanity - if I pretend I'm doing it for a) I'll be more inclined to keep on going =)

If you want to see how good ones are painted up head to TLA or One Ring and check out some of the pictures of those guys.
Or the games workshop ones

Friday, April 9, 2010

To Kill A King

Well, it's yet another rematch between my brother's Haradrim army and my Goblins.

I swapped my giant spider for three wild wargs, other than that we have the same armies as previous posts.

We randomly chose a mission and four battle board segments. No lava this time! The mission: To Kill a King. I groaned, Durburz the Goblin King is not in the same class as Suladan the Serpent King!

We whacked down scenery until we had the following board set up, he rolled and won to choose corners. Setting up inside the ruins would allow him to use the archways as defensive positions and keep under cover of my archer volleys. My corner had a small hill, so I put Durburz up on it with goblins around on lower levels, meaning he'd have to fight his way up to me.

My strategy was going to be fairly defensive, having lost so many games to my brother I was desperate for a win, and this time I was going to try using my archers as much as possible. I had enough for volleying fire and figured I could try to take out his Hasharin with my troll and Wild Warg Chieftain then just arrow the rest of the forces to death!

Turn 1: We both rolled 5s for priority so rerolled, both rolled 4s! Rerolled again and I got a 4, he got a 5 so round one to the Haradrim.

He kept Suladan in the ruins with some backup and marched the rest of his troops forward, I did similar. My goblin archers volleyed 13 arrows high into the air, as they arced down three arrows hit the charging cavalry, one arrow thunked home in the neck of a horse, sending the rider falling. The spearman stood and shook his fist in the direction of the archers.

Turn 2: A tie roll for priority again, so it shifts to the Goblins. The majority of the Serpent King's forces seem to be taking up defensive positions, the archers climb the stairs of the ruins. The Hasharin, leads a group forward, hoping to cut through the troll and goblins to assassinate the Goblin King. The cavalry ride in the other direction, hoping to outflank to take on the archers.

This time, again, the goblin archers let fly and score a lucky two hits, slaying a spearman and his mount. This is the luckiest I've ever been with archers!

The whittled down cavalry ride through some large stalagmites.

Turn 3: Priority Haradrim. More marching, the goblins change targets, aiming towards the group of advancing troops with the Hasharin among them. Among the black feathered arrows, one hurtles towards the Hasharin himself! Fate is on his side and with two points of fate the arrow hits his pendant, hanging in front of his chest. A very lucky man!

The Haradrim archers survey the battlefield, but are out of range and without sufficient numbers for volleying.

Turn 4: Goblin priority. The forces are almost within melee range! The goblins volley again, but all their arrows miss! The cavalry use the massive dwarven pillars to keep out of arrow line of sight.

The Haradrim forces are now within smell range of the troll. Still they hold fast to their advance!

Turn 5: Priority Haradrim. Cavalry charges goblins, which surround it and slay it mercilessly, glad to finally have some blood on their weapons. The goblin volley targets the enemy forces in the middle of the board, one arrow thunks home, but it's just a flesh wound, a scar that the Haradrim raider will remember for the rest of his (very short) life. The Haradrim have positioned themselves so that the mighty cave troll can only attack a lowly spearman. He's very soon an ex-spearman. And not because he lost his spear.

Top view at end of turn. You can see the tripod, which is why most of these shots came out so much better than last time. At top of board, the two ranks of goblin archers, the one remaining cavalry and the wargs gathering for the kill. The Haradrim archers, bored with their defensive position, move forward to get within range of the enemy.

The troll, spittle flying, lashes the spearman before smashing his head with the mighty mallet.

The wargs gather under the growled instructions from their chieftain, ready to pounce on the cavalry man, hungry for horseflesh dinner with haradrim for dessert.

Turn 6: Priority to the goblins (now and for all of the important turns!)

The goblin volley this turn proves successful yet again - those training videos (How to Win Friends and Influence People while Shooting them Accurately) seem to have worked. Another spearman falls with an arrow in his throat.

With priority theirs for the taking, the warg pack pounces on the poor cavalryman who dies screaming within earshot of the laughing goblin bowmen.

Within earshot also of the Hasharin who takes on a duo of goblin spearmen and, poisoned blade flashing, kills them both easily, slashing the throat of one while gutting the other in a graceful pirouette. A Watcher of Karna takes on two goblins and beats them back, but fails to injure them enough for a kill. A lone Haradrim spearman, with the screams of the cavalryman echoing in his head, fights against four goblins, and beats them back!

The cave troll smashes a watcher against the ground, adding a lot of red to the black robes.

Turn 7: Priority to the goblins (again!) The goblin archers take aim and kill a haradrim archer. A haradrim archer returns fire, felling a wild warg, sending it snarling and thrashing around for a minute before it realised it was dead.

The melee is messy. Two Haradrim spearmen take on two goblins, who stab the men in the ankles. One falls and is speared through the throat, the other hops backwards cursing! The Haradrim chieftain launches into the four goblins assaulting him and uses his skill in one massive sweep of his weapon, tearing the throats out of two goblins and sending a spray of blood over the other two.

A Watcher of Karna takes on a goblin and slays it without even trying, striding forward towards the Goblin King. The Hasharin also disposes easily of his foe, decapitating it with twin flashes of steel.

It doesn't all go the Haradrim's way, however. Two goblins team up against a single Haradrim spearman and spit him though the belly, chittering and giggling manically as he dies messily and noisily. The troll smashes a Watcher of Karna into a nearby rocky outcrop, shattering the black clad man's spine. The lucky spearman from last turn is assaulted by six goblins this time, the previous four combine with their two kin to swarm over the man and stab him multiple times as he tries desperately and futilely to fend them off.

Turn 8: Priority goblins (yup, yet again). At this stage, we note that in the previous game I essentially win when I get priority this many times in a row with my troll in melee combat. In all I end up with 6 priority wins in a row. Hard to fight against that bad luck!

Having said that, I don't pull any punches! The goblins will fight unfairly if they have to - as a matter of fact, they prefer it that way!

A Watcher of Karna, six feet in front of the goblin archers, is amazed as every single arrow flies right past him. The goblin archers, used to volley firing, have evidently forgotten how to aim at close targets!

A Haradrim archer shoots at a wild warg, who shrugs off the arrow lodged in its haunches, takes two steps, then twitches and falls to the ground shaking. The poisoned arrow takes a few seconds to infiltrate the bloodstream fully, but eventually the warg shudders for the last time, eyes bulging and tongue lolling out as it dies painfully from the scorpion poison on the arrowtip.

A packmate lunges at another bowman and rips out the man's throat. The Wild Warg Chieftain uses his point of might to slay another bowman, tearing him open with his massive claws and roaring defiance at the humans.

The haradrim chieftain smashes into two goblin archers and uses a point of might to beat them back and slaughter one of them, hoping to disrupt their volley firing. In two other melee fights of goblin vs. human goblins lose, but only take minor wounds.

A Watcher of Karna takes on two goblins and kills one that is trapped up against a rocky outcrop, with nowhere to run except onto the flashing blades of the black Haradrim.

With priority, the troll and four goblins assault the mighty Hasharin and even with all his great skill, the numbers and strength of the mighty troll are too much for him. Durburz roars defiance across the battlefield to Suladan, who's assassination plot has fallen with his chief assassin.

Turn 9: Priority Goblins. It's time to mop up the surviving Haradrim on this side of the battle. The goblin archers take a step back from the Haradrim Chieftain to make way for the Wild Warg Chieftain. The wild warg beats back the Watcher of Karna, but his flashing fangs and steel like claws fail to find skin, slashing the black robes instead. The Wild Warg Chieftain takes on the Haradrim Chieftain and win the fight, fate is with the Chieftain as he takes two mortal wounds, one of which is deflected, barely, as the Warg's claws get tangled in the Chieftain's bowstrings.

The Haradrim archers take aim and kill a goblin spearman, a poisoned arrow puncturing his back as he is busy lending support to the fight with the troll and a Watcher of Karna. He dies from the poison much more swiftly than the warg, but no less dramatically, tongue puffing up and stifling his pitiable screams before he collapses, green skin turning a shade of blue.

Fairly predictably, the lack of a goblin supporting spearman doesn't sway the fight and the Troll clubs the Watcher to the ground while the goblin supporters stab at the dying man.

Turn 10: Priority Goblins. One of the Haradrim archers flees the battle, his lack of courage a spit in the face to Suladan, who tells his guards to Stand Fast! The rest of the men are too engaged in battle to give thought to running!

The Wild Warg Chieftain leaps upon a Watcher of Karna, the already torn robes are no protection and even though they are almost evenly matched (both rolling 6s) the Chieftain's mighty claws knock the blades from the Watcher's hands, fangs are close behind and they crush the man's windpipe, splattering blood across the field of vision of his packmate, causing enough distraction to allow the spearman to fend back the attacks of the wild warg attacking him.

The Haradrim chieftain uses a point of might to take on two goblins and win, spitting one of them through the chest. The Haradrim archers shoot at some goblins and hit! Even the poison on their arrows isn't as nasty as what the goblins had for lunch, however, and it has no effect on them. A very lucky Haradrim warrior survives a battle with the mighty cave troll!

Turn 11: Priority Goblin (sick of that yet? My brother sure was!)
Another Haradrim archer flees the battle, leaving only one behind.
The wild warg combines with his chieftain to slay the spearman on the rise, the blood runs to stain the feet of the nearby statue. The Haradrim chieftain somehow manages to not die against four goblins and the cave troll!

The rolls to wound:

Turn 12: Priority Haradrim! At last!
The courage roll for the Chieftain is a three! After surviving so long, he decides to run to fight another day and flees the battlefield. In the future he'll tell the story of surviving against the Cave Troll to his children (who also turn out to be cowards and live long enough to hear the story many times.) The goblin army regroups and begins marching to where the archers can fire at Suladan.

Turn 13: marching continues.

Turn 14: Still more marching.

And from the other side of the board... the wargs have come around the back and wait for a chance to strike.

Turn 15. More marching.

Turn 16: Priority Haradrim.

After they move into position the wargs dart forward at the last remaining archer and kill him!

Suladan is standing right next to them and is splattered by the blood!

Turn 17: Priority Goblins. The wargs retreat out of range of Suladan, but taunt the banner bearer on his steed to attack if he dares. He doesn't.

Suladan instead rallies his forces and charges towards the advancing goblins!

Totally taking them by surprise! They aren't in a nice big pack yet, still in several groups.

Turn 18: Priority Haradrim. Four archers manage to get into firing positions and kill a Watcher of Karna with a lucky shot that ricochets off the ruined wall! Suladan, yelling mightily, charges at four goblins, wins on a tied roll of sixes and uses a point of might to send two sword and shield wielding goblins to their maker. The Watcher of Karna next to him takes on two goblins and slays one, swords flashing next to his King.

Turn 19: Priority Goblins. A messy melee develops. The Wild Warg Chieftain rears above the banner bearer, beyond him four goblins raise their bows and shoot at the banner. The arrows flash through the banner, tearing a hole in it and one of the arrows lodges in the Warg Chieftain - wounding the massive creature!

In it's rage, the Warg Chieftain brutally slays the banner bearer along with his companion spearman and growls revenge at the goblins, who tremble in fear - knowing that should they survive the battle, they may not survive long afterwards now.

Suladan slays another goblin, but there are no other kills this turn.

Turn 20: Priority Haradrim.
Suladan makes a run for it! With longer legs than the goblins and his other Serpent underlings fending off the faster wargs (a spearman making a lucky kill!) he decides to take matters into his own mighty hands and charges towards Durburz. 5 archers all take aim and miss, arrows clattering in the rocks all around Suladan.

The Warg Chieftain, injured now, fails to wound his opponent, a Watcher of Karna defends Suladan's back and kills a goblin.

Turn 21: Priority Goblins. 2 archers fire at Suladan, who has managed to find some cover behind towering rock outcrops. They hit, but only make a hole in his back banner. The Haradrim spearman slays the goblin that he faces and the Watcher of Karna wounds the Wild Warg Chieftain.

Turn 22: Priority Goblins. Suladan uses a point of will to yell "Stand Fast" to his few remaining troops as he charges onwards across the battlefield. 7 archers fire at the Serpent King, two more arrows puncture holes in his banner. Another goblin spearman falls. The goblins are getting closer to breaking! I'm starting to think my major victory might slip from my fingers!

Turn 23: Priority Haradrim. They are all courageous and charge valiantly at the goblins - Suladan continuing his mad sprint. 12 goblin archers take aim, 6 arrows bite home, two puncture the mighty king, leaving him limping, but still alive!

The Watcher slays another gibbering goblin, leaving three until they break.

Turn 24: Priority Haradrim. 9 archers fire at Suladan, one arrow thwacks into the Troll's shoulder! No wounds to Suladan though. The goblin archers are doubly worried now, after hitting the Warg AND the Troll.  The last of the Haradrim fall beneath the Warg Chieftain and a swarm of goblins.

The troll gets so close to Suladan that he can feel the spittle on his cheek. You can see Durburz atop the small hill, feeling slightly worried now.

The last of the Haradrim force, just the King is left now.

Turn 25: Priority Haradrim. 1 Archer hits Suladan, but no wound! Yet another hole in the banner, which is more hole than banner at this stage! Suladan is almost within striking range of Durburz, if the goblins can't stop him next turn it could be a King - vs - King battle to the death for the match! If Suladan kills another few goblins it'll go from a Major victory to a Minor victory...

Turn 26: Priority Goblins. Poor Suladan, with priority to the goblins, the Cave troll catches up with Suladan from behind, with a goblin pack swarming down from bodyguard duty to his front.

The dice are rolled...

It's close!

But not close enough... Suladan falls beneath the vicious troll and Durburz's bodyguard, while he cackles from above, taunting his enemy to his dying breath.

Three goblins away from forcing a minor victory, and after an amazing charge across the whole length of the board, Suladan added quite a bit of zest to the last half of the game! Still, the goblins were totally victorious.

My initial plan seemed to work pretty well, used the goblins for swarming, used the archers for volleying, which was way more effective than it has been in past games. The game really was hanging in the balance when his Hasharin was one turn away from breaking through the goblin lines, he could have beat Durburz pretty easily, he has done so on more than one previous occasion.

So what stopped it? The goblins just kept winning priority, over and over and OVER again, letting the troll beat up what it wanted, when it wanted, with solo goblins holding up all the other troops and keeping them separated. So probably less about skill than about lucky priority rules in the end. With only one point of might, the Hasharin was not so keen to use it in a first move when he figured he'd get priority at some stage.


Well, hard to pick a man of the match for this game. The Wild Warg Chieftain certainly rampaged across the board, the Cave Troll did a lot of killing, including the Hasharin. But in terms of sheer entertainment, Suladan's recklessly wild charge across the table was fabulous to behold and, for my money, worth a Man of the Match award!

You can picture it in movie format with dramatic music, arrows swishing through the air, cave troll hot on his heels, brave foot soldiers throwing themselves in harm's way to keep his path to the enemy king clear. Very cool stuff =)

Victory shot (just before some goblin archers were eaten by the Wild Warg Chieftain and smashed by the Cave Troll for those stray arrows during the battle).

Stay tuned for possibly a three in a row next time!