Middle Earth SBG – The March of the Ents Begins!

A friend has chosen the mighty Ents of Fangorn for his good army and I’ve been tasked with painting them up! So far it looks like a great oppertunity to flex my painting muscles with lot’s of variety, both painting and model wise, coming along with the job.

Since there’s a fairly limited range in place for the Middle Earth Ent model range, he’s chosen to pick up a few from the Warhammer range. It’s these two Wood Elf Treemen that I’ll be starting with. One which is almost finished…

And one who I’m just getting started on…

They look just the part for Middle Earth and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this project.

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Middle Earth SBG – The Witch King Summons Allies!

With the drop of the new Armies of the Hobbit book, it’s time to get the Witch King and the spectral Castellans onto the table!

I used the Witch King on Fellbeast flaming sword arm to add that wee bit of extra flair to him. The plan is to paint this up as spectral blue fire, something I will likely carry over to the other wraiths and the Castellans…

A fairly expensive reinforcement, and with a limit to their fighting time, these horrific spirits also offer a massive level of survivability, as they can use their Will as Fate.  Also, Morgul Blades for 5 points? Yes please!

I’ll be painting these up much like the wraiths, keeping to the ghostly, ancient appearance to tie them into the rest of the Dol Guldur, and the touch of blue to tie them into the force as a whole.

A Month in Pictures – November!

November began with the first few models of my White Council force, Gandalf and Elrond. I really enjoyed cracking into these as it was my first real attempt at a textured highlight. It was also the first time I really felt like I’d acheived the effect I wanted with the swords, and I’m really proud of the result on both.

The only new addition to the Azog’s Legion were the Mirkwood Spiders. A fun addition and something i’ve been loving using in games.

And last but not least I painted up 8 figures for a painting guide in this months issue of Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

I want to get a lot more done in December and round out my first year doing this with a good number 🙂

Models Painted: 13

Total painted in 2018: 164

Middle Earth SBG – A Misadventure with Recasts!

This post is all about a recent encounter with some recast Forge World miniatures, but also to serve as a bit of a warning to those looking to pick up cheaper figures and what to look for to spot a fake.

I’ve worked with a lot of Forge World over the years, regularly shopping with them when I was playing 40k and now that I’ve jumped back into LOTR. Their quality has been nothing but excellent and my more recent purchases have done nothing but reaffirm this. My Azog’s Legion models have been some of the best quality models I’ve worked with. I truly believe that the price tag attached is worth the quality product you receive.

Which leads us onto recasts. There’s 2 primary reasons I will never work on a recast model.

  1. The quality is generally sub par
  2. It does nothing to support the hobby

Let’s take a look at these in a little more detail.

I managed to take a few images of the miniatures, mainly so the buyer could tackle the situation with the seller, and these show just how bad the quality is and some of the tell tale signs of a recast.

On the whole they may look very similar to the FW casts but the detail is considerably lacking, small details being particularly affected. There’s also always a slight texture to the surfaces that you don’t find on FW minis.

As pointed out by some readers it is important to note that these are not always clear indicators of a recast. Resin does vary wildly in colour and casting issues can be experienced, even when buying from Forge World.

Here’s some things to look out for to spot illegitimate products…

  • Colour Variation. FW resin tends to be quite light, where as most recasts will tend to be dark. This is not always the case.
  • Weight and texture. After working with FW resin for a while you’ll gain a feel for it’s weight and texture. Recasts will always feel ‘off’, especially the texture. This is quite hard to describe and I think it’s only because I’ve experienced low quality resin recasts. The quality difference makes it very obvious, but with a better quality recast these issues may not be apparent.
  • Paperwork. FW products now either come in a clamshell, or a box with a certificate. These are both clear signs it’s a legitimate product.

As stated above these are in no way sure fire ways of detecting a recast and the most assured way to receive the genuine product is to buy direct from the maker. Be they Forge World or any of the many smaller studios.

That’s enough to put me off recasts, but I realise others may not be too concerned with the quality of the miniature as they would just like to get the monster on the table. This leads on to my second point, recasts do not support the hobby, they damage it.

Recasters sit outside the hobby, taking but not giving back. By hobby I mean everything, from the original artists who drew up the concepts, to the sculpter, to the casters, to the painters, to the studio staff who work on images and packaging, through to shops (FLGS’s and others), right through to us, the consumers and anyone else inbetween who helps these great products to be released. None of those involved get any credit from a purchase made from a recaster. In fact an inferior product is released into the wild and can mislead others as to what to expect from something legitamate.

A common argument used to justify using recasters is that a company like Games Workshop can afford it, they have been doing very well recently, and for the most part you would be right, they can. But it will still have a domino effect on those involved in the process and at the end of the day, theft is still theft no matter how much money the victim has.

This doesn’t even touch upon what this can do to small businesses, who cannot afford to lose sales to recasters. They can have a product lines sales decimated, with no real way to tackle the issue. This can and will put artists and small studios out of business.

Another argument is the price, which I have already touched upon. You are buying a cheaper product but you are also buying an inferior product. Forge World are one of the best miniature producers in the world so why buy a cheap knock off when you can have the real thing. It’s also worth noting that you get a hell of a lot of after care with Forge World, top notch customer service will sort any issues you have. Issues with a recast? You may be in with a fight to sort anything out.

I do understand why some people will choose to go down the recast route, I just know it’s not right by my standards and I will not support it. It does nothing to grow or even support the hobby and at the end of the day that’s what we all want, a great hobby that grows and expands, stays fresh and exciting. So buy legit, don’t buy recast.

Middle Earth SBG – Monsters of Gundabad

They’ve finally arrived! Azog’s Legion is receiving an epic reinforcement in the form of several hulking beasts, the Trolls and Ogres of Gundabad…

That’s most of what I need for the Legion sorted and already having got in a few games I can confirm 2 things. They are pretty good at smashing things and they don’t get along well with ents! My first game with them they got smashed immediately by some of the woody bastards!

Next up was some new ogres. I enthusiastically stuck these together before thinking about the fact I may want to change them a bit, but after a few hours and some green stuff I ended up with these…

I’m really pleased with how they turned out, especially the skulls, and I think it adds a great amount of character to them. It does mean they don’t link all that well to the ones I’ve got, so I’m going to add some tattoos to all of them in the end.

As you can imagine this amount of monstrous reinforcement pleases me greatly and I can’t wait to get stuck in with these and the Dol Guldur!

As you can imagine I’m really stoked to get painting these. Not only are they massive but the detail is incredible!

Middle Earth SBG – Reinforcing the White Council!

Gandalf and Elrond were in dire need of some help and it wasn’t difficult to muster up a few friends for them…

The first of which is the Lady Galadriel herself. Mustering up a respectable profile, she provides a great deal of support. Helping to stop incoming shots as well as offering some help with resisting magic for those needing to get stuck in.

She seems like an easy paint, but I want to keep her fairly dark using her hand as the light source of the model.

Following on from such a powerful sorcerer, is the second Lord of the West to make it into the list, Glorfindal. A combat beast, with impressive defences to match, he’ll make mincemeat of the opposition.

This one’s going to be a lot of fun to paint. It will be my very first time tackling that beautiful elvin armour.

That’s the reinforcements for now, just awaiting availability on a certain brown wizard and to find the right model for a certain white. Once they’re in there I’ll have the White Council properly ready for battle!

Middle Earth SBG – What’s Next for Azog’s Legion?

I want to look into expanding my Azog’s Legion army by the way of allies. With ‘Master of Battle’ being such a strong addition to Azog I knew I needed to look at green allies. That kind of thematic link being something I look for in a force anyway. That meant Azog’s Hunters or the Dark Powers of Dol Guldur.

If you’ve been reading my recent Middle Earth SBG posts you’ll know I have a history with Dol Guldur and it didn’t take me long to look in their direction, especially with those tasty Nazgul models. This was my nine from around 8 years ago, no longer with me unfortunately…

So the first port of call was a few of the Nine to start them off. After looking through the profiles and what came in each pack I settled on this lot…

The Slayer of Men was on the radar straight away. +1 to wound is always a great boon, especially on someone I wanted leading some troops. The Dark Headsman made the cut partly because of the awesome sculpt, but a nice special rule for that chance of killing a juicy target helped too. With the Witch King coming along too, I was sold. +1 Might is another no brainer over some of the other rules the Nine offer and for the captain like purpose I would like to use them for.

You’ll notice the Witchking is missing his sword, just awaiting a peice so I can do a small conversion on him.

With some ‘captains’ to lead some Dol Guldur warbands I also wanted some unique units to go with them. Whilst I could easily throw in some Gundabad Orcs, an advantage that makes this list a natural ally, I wanted something I couldn’t get anywhere else. This inevitabally led me down a nostalgia path once again…

That’s right, Spiders. Alongside my Necromancer force I used to collect a force of giant spiders led by the Spiderqueen. I said I didn’t want to repeat my past armies, but here we are.

These should give me a nice wee boost in choices and offer some different tactical options. I’ll take a look at that once I’ve had a few games with them.

Nxt up will be some more reinforcements for Azog’s Legion, not allies, but some of the big guys!