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.
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.
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.
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.
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).