Archive for July, 2013

Host of Mordor

For a little space you may triumph on the field, for a day. But against the Power that now arises there is no victory. […] The West has failed. It is time for all to depart who would not be slaves.

Recently I have been revisiting my Mordor collection, once more buoyed up on my enthusiasm for all things Tolkien. A number of these models were already painted but have been rebased in order to better fit in with my collection. I was never all that happy with the grey, dusty bases so I redid them as verdant fields representing Gondor or Rohan. A few new orcs have been added including a drummer and a standard bearer along with a Mordor Troll (which I have finally got around to finishing after a few years of it sitting around on my ‘work-in-progress’ shelf*).

*or, more accurately, my ‘work-has-ground-to-a-halt’ shelf in many instances.

Orcs

All those Quendi who came into the hands of Melkor, ere Utumno was broken, were put there in prison, and by slow arts of cruelty were corrupted and enslaved; and thus did Melkor breed the hideous race of the Orcs in envy and mockery of the Elves, of whom they were afterwards the bitterest foes. […] And deep in their dark hearts the Orcs loathed the Master whom they served in fear, the maker only of their misery.

The orcs were fun models to paint and each was surprisingly quick. I tried to emulate the dark and dirty look of the orcs in the film but was careful not to go overboard. At this scale too much dirt would make the models look messy and poorly painted. Instead I used a palette of dark, grimy looking colours to achieve the overall effect which, while not identical to the films, works very well at this scale.

Mordor Orcs

The design on the banner was copied from one of the concept sketches in Chris Smith’s The Lord of the Rings: Weapons and Warfare. Although this book is not a great read, it contains a wealth of concept sketches and images of film props which are incredibly helpful when painting models. The design was painted on using Mephiston Red and Shaded by adding Vallejo Black/Red.

Orc Standard Bearer

Orc Taskmaster

Orc Drummer

The taskmaster and the drummer represent two different approaches to painting Lord of the Rings models. The taskmaster is painted to be as close as possible to the film whereas the drummer involves a bit more artistic license. Originally I painted him with pale skin as seen in the film. However, this didn’t look right so I gave him dark skin more akin to an Uruk Hai. Sometimes you just have to go with what looks right rather than total fidelity to the film.

Mordor Troll

There came striding up, roaring like beasts, a great company of hill-trolls out of Gorgoroth. Taller and broader than men they were, and they were clad only in close-fitting mesh of horny scales, or maybe that was their hideous hide; but they bore round bucklers huge and black and weilded heavy hammers in their knotted hands. Reckless they sprang into the pools and waded across, bellowing as they came. Like a storm they broke upon the line of the men of Gondor, and beat upon helm and head, and arm and shield, as smiths hewing the hot bending iron.

The troll was another fun model to paint and a different sort of challenge because of it’s large size. I pretty much followed the ‘Eavy Metal team’s colour scheme which is very similar to the film. I also replicated a lot of colours and techniques used on the orcs to help tie them together as a cohesive force. Overall I’m very pleased with how all of the models look together, they are all different but the shared palette makes them look reasonably unified (well for orcs anyway).

Mordor Troll

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Astral Claws Assault Squad

This squad really showcases what I love about Space Marines, the huge range range of interchangeable kits produced by both Games Workshop and Forge World provides great scope for customisation. Although this squad is primarily based around the mkIV Assault Squad from Forge World, I wanted to maintain the eclectic and individual look of each of the Marines and have included a number of plastic parts as well. I have mixed up different armour types so that only one marine has a full set of mkIV plate whereas the others combine parts from different patterns of armour. I imagine that each chapter maintains older types of armour and wargear but, over time, parts become irreparably damaged and pieces from different types of armour are combined to make up full suits. This also leaves me with a number of spare parts to be scattered through other squads.

With this squad I have gone with the ‘rule of cool’ rather than think strictly about rules and army lists. As a painter and modeller I’m more concerned with the aesthetic of my models than the game. I know that Assault Squads cannot take hand flamers but they look great and that’s the main thing. If I do ever play a game with them I’ll probably just count them as flamers.

Click on the pictures for larger images.