Middle Earth SBG – Playing Thranduil’s Halls!

Take a look at our latest tactics article by guest writer Kevin…

Hi all! This is my first army overview and I’m going to talk a bit about the denizens of Thranduil’s Halls.

I’m fairly new to the Middle Earth SBG, even though I am a massive Tolkein nerd, but have found the game quite easy to learn. I have played a varied amount of armies both on the good and evil side that has given me a quick understanding of how to break down an army, and really given me a headstart with Thranduil’s Halls.

The great thing about Mirkwood is the solid unit choices and drop dead gorgeous models (I’m looking at you Mirkwood rangers) and we have access to some really high fight value characters and troops.

When I chose to collect Mirkwood it was purely based on my knowlege of the lost lands of the 1st age and how closely Thranduil’s Halls is based upon that. Given the reason for choosing the army, I was in for a treat on the table as they turned out to be a nightmare for my friends to deal with.
I do feel some units need a bit of a point reduction to bring them in line with other units (again looking at you mirkwood rangers).

The thing I love most about the army is the sheer adaptibility, if the list is built around balance rather than focusing on one aspect. The woodland creature ability is great if you can make the most of it and can be used for great positioning and is really helpful for defence and certain scenarios. Thranduil on his mighty stag with his cavarly mates just holding behind a line of palace guard with shields and spears will make anyone think twice about a frontal charge and a flank held by mirkwood rangers is nearly untakable if you posistion well. The army bonus really encourages a tight knit army fighting close quarters around the king himself. Thranduil provides buffs to many of the units from +1 to wound to +1 fight value and even counts as a six inch banner for his Mirkwood cavarly! He becomes a lynchpin for the army around him.

Legolas has time and time again proven to be a great addition to any Mirkwood elves list as he provides good might and incredible special ability that means he can snipe even into combat (or a pesky white warg).

Tuariel is a fighting machine that really wants your opponent to throw as much as possible at her to make the best use of her outnumber me attack more rule.

 

Now onto Thranduil the big king himself, with a fight value of seven and strength 5 on his stag with 3 attacks before he charges he can blend anyone silly enough to send in the goats! On foot he has the same rule as Tuariel (gaining an extra attack for each model after the first to outnumber you) but goes down to strength 4. I have started to give him a bow as shoot value 2+ is kinda juicy with and elven bow.

Mirkwood Elves

These guys are great! Fight value and defence five before upgrades and access to some

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nice kit. Also your cheapest banner option.

Pros

  • High defence and fight value
  • Elite basic troops
  • Elven blades!

Cons

  • High point cost
  • easily outnumbered

Palace Guard

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My bread and butter in all my lists so far that i have written, these guys are stupid good when near a banner and Thranduil as they become fv6 and +1 to wouund.
As it goes they are really hard to shift when given a line of shields backed up by spears and i have seen 2 lock down a even wound a few big monsters.

Pros

  • amazing troops that can hold the line and break your enemies just as easily
  • can be buffed to insane levels next to Thranduil
  • High fight value and defence six with a shield

Cons

  • High points cost
  • Feels like Thranduil needs to babysit at times to maximize their output
  • Each lost is felt hard

Mirkwood rangers

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I never leave the forest hall without at least 5 of these guys. With a low defence 3 but dont count towards your bowlimit, these can be your opponents worst nightmare with their elven bows and cloaks meaning you can be in great position for shooting with little to no chance of retribution.
With thier ‘Knife Fighter’ ability, similar to Thranduils ‘Bladelord’ and Tauriels ‘Blade Midtress’ they can gain extra attacks if they are outnumbered. Though if you lose that fight that defence means you aren’t going to last long.

Pros

  • Dont count towards your armies bow limit
  • Elven Cloaks are thier best defence
  • If outnumbered can perform well

Cons

  • Too expensive
  • Squishy

Mirkwood Cavalry

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Nice cavarly with that elven high fight value and really strond defence with a shield, great to bodyguard Thranduil as he buffs them and counts as a banner to boot!
I like these guys alot but they do seem underwhelming at times.

Pros

  • CAVALRY!
  • Usual Elf high Fight value
  • good flankers and distraction unit

Cons

  • Need Thranduil around to be great
  • High points cost
  • Needs woodland creature on mount

Wood Elf Sentinal

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Single 25 point model that i have only used one so can only say that he preformed well and I can see great use for these guys and will need to include them a bit more.

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Middle Earth SBG – Ancient Ruins Painting Guide

This guide is ideally suited for painting the bases I showed you how to make in this tutorial.

I’ve used the same basing technique for both my Azog’s Legion and my White Council, but with a few subtle changes to the painting in order to give them a different character. I’ll be going through the stages for both in full but there are only a few differences between them, but you’ll notice from the picture they end up looking fairly different.

Eerie Ruins

What you will need:

  • Citadel Rhinox Hide
  • Citadel Eshin Grey
  • Citadel Dawnstone
  • Citadel Ionach Skin
  • Citadel Pallid Wych Flesh
  • Vallejo Chocolate Brown
  • Citadel Death World Forest
  • Citadel Karak Stone
  • Army Painter Steppe Grass
  • Army Painter Mountain Tufts
  • Dark Green Leaves

Begin by basecoating the base with Sotek Green, then apply a heavy drybrush of Eshin Grey

Apply a medium drybrush of Dawnstone

Apply a light drybrush of Ionach Skin

Apply an edge highlight to the tiles with Pallid Wych Flesh

Make a mix of 1 part Chocolate Brown and 5 parts water and apply over the sanded areas

Make a similar mix with Death World Forest and apply over select areas of the sand

Apply a light drybrush of Karak Stone I’ve the sand and edges of the cork

Apply a very light drybrush of Pallid Wych Flesh to the sand

Apply some of the mountain tufts to the base

Use PVA to apply the grass around the tufts and across the sandy areas

Finally use PVA glue to affix some leaves to the base. This can be a little fiddly so I would recommend some tweazers

Dark Ruins

What you will need:

  • Citadel Rhinox Hide
  • Citadel Eshin Grey
  • Citadel Dawnstone
  • Citadel Ionach Skin
  • Citadel Pallid Wych Flesh
  • Vallejo Chocolate Brown
  • Citadel Karak Stone
  • Army Painter Steppe Grass
  • Army Painter Mountain Tufts
  • Autumn Leaves
  • Alclad II ‘mud’ weathering pigment

Apply a basecoat of Rhinox Hide to the base and once dry apply a medium drybrush of Eshin Grey across the base

Apply a light drybrush of Dawnstone, focussing on the edges of the tiles

Apply a very light drybrush of Ionach Skin to the edges of the tiles

Apply an edge highlight of Pallid Wych Flesh to the tiles

Use the same Chocolate Brown mix found in the Eerie Ruins guide and apply to the sand areas and exposed cork

Apply a light drybrush of Karak Stone to the sand and exposed cork

Apply a very light Pallid Wych Flesh drybrush to the sand and exposed cork

Apply the mountain tufts to the base

Apply a light dusting of weathering powder to the top and edges

Use PVA to affix some autumn leaves to the base to finish

 

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Middle Earth SBG – Playing Azog’s Legion!

I’ve got my first 800pts finished and painted up and I’ve really been enjoying the games I’ve been having with them, especially the variety of units I can get on the table. I wanted to offer a look at what I’ve discovered about them.

Overall I’ve found the army very good but also fairly well balanced. So far nothing seems overcosted nor undercosted, although I know there is a debate about whether the ‘Master of Battle’ bonus should be on a 4+.

I also found that they never really felt outclassed, well except by Sauron, always able to meet challenges with at least one part of the force. This flexibility is what I love most about the force. Azog’s Legion is really a jack of all trades, but master of none.

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Gundabad Orcs

Gundabad Orc Warband

The Gundabad orcs offer a solid backbone to your army. An average statline but a good defence brings them in line with most other armies ‘better than usual’ troops.

They won’t wow you on the table top but they’ll certainly do their part.

Pros

  • Solid defence of 6 when equipped with shields. Great against elf bows and the like
  • Ancient Enemies: Rerolling 1s to wound against dwarves and elves is amazing
  • Cheap, reliable captains
  • Strength 4

Cons

  • Average fight value of 3
  • Only source of banners for the army
  • Low courage

Gundabad Beserkers

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Solid linebreakers, but I think they really excel at flanking and outmaneuvering. Some middling stats stop them from being outstanding but this is reflected well in their cost and rules.

Pros

  • 8″ move allows for flexibility and an increased threat range
  • Ancient Enemies
  • 6+ save against wounds
  • High courage

Cons

  • More reliable with support, which can lessen the movement advantages
  • Fairly average stats

Goblin Mercenaries

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Offering a nice tactical choice with their ‘Mercenary Ambush’ special rule, which allows them to show up within a terrain peice from turn 2 onwards they do however feel a little expensive. The captain racks up at the same points as the Gundabad orcs equivalent meaning paying for the ability even if you don’t use it. Still a nice cheap addition to an army and you do get a lot of joy when they manage to kill things.

Pros

  • ‘Mercenary Ambush’ ability
  • Very cheap
  • ‘Chittering Horde’ allows them to support one another

Cons

  • ‘Mercenary Ambush’ comes at a cost
  • Mediocre stats, it is still a goblin after all

Troll Brute

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I love this guy. The brute causes a s10 hit on every model it touches during movement. If the model dies he can keep moving. And squashing. That is until he fails to wound and charges the survivor.

The first few games I failed miserably, forever rolling 1s and 2s and squishing nothing, but once he gets rolling he can make a mess of enemy lines. Just watch out for wizards. Compel and Command cast on him at the wrong time can have him walking over your own force!

Pros

  • Excellent squashing abilities
  • Terror and Fearless
  • Access to Brutal Power Attacks, especially Barge
  • 4 wounds

Cons

  • Relatively low defence
  • Susceptible to spellcasters
  • Low Fight

Gundabad Ogres

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The ogres are a weird addition to the force, offering a brutal but easily overwhelmed linebreaker. Much like the Beserkers they have an 8″ move, making them unusually speedy. The ‘Relentless Advance’ rule adds even more flexability. They can charge through thier own troops, orcs, goblins and warbats. Theres a good chance it will kill them, but getting the ogre into a key combat can be worth it.

Backed up by some solid stats and a relatively cheap cost I would highly recommend adding them into your force.

Pros

  • 8″ movement
  • Solid stat line. 3 wounds, 3 attacks, fight 5.
  • Brutal Power Attacks
  • ‘Relentless Advance’

Cons

  • Low defence
  • Easily swarmed

Azog the Despoiler

Azog Final Complete.jpg

Azog is a beast, an absolute beast! He has an outstanding stat line, alongside some brutal special rules meaning he is quite easily one of the best combat based characters in the game. On the White Warg he is a force to be reckoned with. Being able to share their store of Might, Will and Fate they have access to an impressive 6, 4 and 2. This combined with the army special rule, giving Azog ‘Master of Battle’, tools him up to deal with a good amount of the major threats coming your way.

Whilst he’s impressive wielded as a hammer, smashing aside rank and file, I reckon he should be your scalpel. Direct him towards any mid level character and he will end them in short order. Even some of the more prominent characters will fear Azog charging down on them if he has a good amount of Might left.

I should also point out I haven’t used the flail yet so haven’t factored that in.

Pros

  • Wounds heroes on a 3+
  • Might out the wazoo
  • Movement and charge bonus of the warg
  • 12″ Standfast that affects other orc heroes. With the right positioning you can cause a ripple through your force once broken that keeps everbody in the fight. Considering the low average courage across the army this is a huge boon.
  • Master of Battle. I can do what you can do better.

Cons

  • Aim for the warg
  • Susceptible to magic
  • Low Fate
  • Struggles against well armoured infantry

Bolg, War bats, Troll Catapults and Gundabad Trolls

The only ones that I haven’t played with as yet. The war bats and the catapult because there are no models yet and I’d rather wait for official ones. The trolls and Bolg because I haven’t picked them up…..yet.

And that’s my thoughts so far on Azog’s Legion, but I will be looking to get reinforcements as well as some allies in the very near future. More on that soon. In the meantime let me know what you think and if I missed anything.

All of my guides and articles will continue to be free and open for use by anyone, but if you did find this guide helpful please support me with a donation, so I can continue to make great tutorials like this one!

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Middle Earth SBG – Ancient Ruins Basing Tutorial

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I absolutely love going to town on the basing of my miniatures. It’s just another excuse to add some character, variety and unification to your armies. It’s all about adding that story that really brings your miniatures to life.

The most recent basing I have been doing is for my Azog’s Legion force and today I’m going to show you what you need and how to go about making them.

I’ll be doing a series of tutorials on basing, both the modelling and the painting, so look out for future articles.

What you will need:

  • Cork Roll. I use a 2.5mm thickness, like this. This is readily available from most hobby stores, so if you do have a model train store nearby pop in and take a look. Just one of these rolls will easily last you the whole army.
  • Plasticard. I have so far been using a fairly thin, 1mm, variety. This does make it a bit easier to cut and model, but doesn’t look quite as good as a thocker variety.
  • Sand. I used Fine Sand from Basecrafts.
  • Mixed cork. Used for detailing. Can be found here, or like the cork roll can be found in hhobby stores.
  • PVA
  • Super Glue
  • Clippers
  • Modelling Knife

Building the Bases

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Begin by breaking the cork roll down into smaller, circular sections. I used the base as a template and broke the cork off around the edge. Always make more than required as these can be used for extra levels and details.

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Glue one of the circles to the top of the base with superglue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once dry this will give you your first layer.

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Due to some of the drying times involved I’ll always build a few bases at a time, usually enough for a warband.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cut the plasticard down into small rectangular and square shapes. They don’t need to be uniform as the ruins are quite, well…ruined.

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Using super glue attach each segment at a time to build up the paving on top of the cork.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Clip off the excess plasticard around the edge of the base. The aim is to keep to the circle but still retain an angular look.

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That’s the second layer done. Normally I would attach figures at this point. It can limit your ability to paint the base but does ensure the mini will be a good fit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Next up is weathering the plasticard. Using the modelling knife make scratches across the surface. The more you add the more beaten up the ruins will look.

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Also use the knife to shave down the edges and add some bigger cuts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Use super glue to add a few peices of the mixed cork across the bases.

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Use PVA to add some of the fine sand onto small areas of the bases. I focussed on any cork visible on the top, around the mixed corks and in the cracks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Once the pva was dry I added a layer to seal in the sand. This was acheived with a mix of 1 part PVA to 6 parts water. I add this to all my bases that include sand as it really secures everything and cuts down on wear and tear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The beauty of the cork is it’s quite an easy material to cut and craft into unique features.

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A simple slice like this and both parts can be used to make a staircase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Glued one on top of the other they add that extra dimension and retain the circle shape.

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You can utilise this to make some pretty funky and diverse ruins. Just remember to test fit your miniatures so you know they will fit and loook good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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you will need to cut the plasticard to fit the middle step, but the bottom and top can overhang to be cut down.

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From there it’s just finishing them up just like the others by adding mixed cork, sand and a seal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there you have it. This is how I built and will continue to build all the bases for my Azog’s Legion force. I hope you all find it usual and I would love to see some of the bases you make using it, pop me an email at deathwatchstudios@gmail.com, find me on Facebook or Instagram.

Join me soon to find out just how I painted them as well.

All of my guides will continue to be free and open for use by anyone, but if you did find this guide helpful please support me with a donation, so I can continue to make great tutorials like this one!

SUPPORT ME!

Middle Earth SBG – Choosing My Army!

Jumping back into Lord of the Rings meant once again picking an army to collect. I should point out before I continue that evil is my bag. It didnt even cross my mind that my main force would be a good one. I like my monsters and gribblies too much.

Back in the day I had a fairly sizable Dol Guldur army with a Necromancer led contingent and a Spider Queen force and before that a large Mordor force. I wasn’t looking to revisit any of these and wanted to try something new. I painted a lot for those armies and wanted to get a completely fresh start, although I may revisit these forces in a few months.

All this meant looking away from the Lord of the Rings forces and adventuring into the fairly unfamiliar territory of The Hobbit. I had not kept up with model or rules releases for this, so really had no idea what was out there for it. I had seen the films when they were released, but needed a refresher alongside a read of the Hobbit armies PDF. So got the extended editions out and got my geek on.

Following this epic viewing (I really enjoyed the trilogy. Flawed films but still an awesome adventure)and reading session, I knew exactly what I wanted to collect, both good and evil forces.

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I knew I wanted a hoard of orcs, gribblies and massive trolls, led by the big bad himself, Azog. Even though he doesn’t really stick to the Tolkein lore I loved this character. Just a good and proper villain. It really helped that he also came with a great selection of gribblies of all shapes and sizes. As I said earlier this is is right up my street.

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I also loved the Dol Guldur fight between the White Council and the Necromancer and fell in love with the White Council. I love this whole story line and the characters involved. It also meant a small collection of key characters, so not much to collect and a great opportunity to really give them some painting love.

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Not to mention a mate has a 1000pt army consisting of the Necromancer, the Nine and the Dungeon Master. It’s going to be an epic and beautifully themed game when we get a chance to play it.

I did expect it to take longer for me to get stuck into both forces, but I’ve already painted 800pts of Azog’s Legion alongside 2 members of the White Council. Check them out below…

Middle Earth SBG – A Return to Where it All Started!

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15 years ago I was sucked into the hobby vortex from whence I have yet to return. 15 years ago a friend urged me to have a game with his brand new The Two Towers boxed game. 15 years ago that I started my journey leading to where I am now!

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Following that game with a friend was a frenzy of collecting, hobbying and battling. The release fo the films alongside a massive influx of related materials just spurred me further into a love of the universe. The Lord of the Rings SBG gave me a creative outlet to focus this sudden interest and I dove right in. Converting my own characters, creating scenery and even building a massive cardboard Osgiliath in my living room. It eventually led to a job in Games Workshop and the other games, Warhammer and 40k. From there, as you can imagine, I fell right down the rabbit hole and have never looked back. I owe a lot to Lord of the Rings, the one game that started it all!

I continued to play Lord of the Rings for many years, but slowly started to drift away. Tyranids and Hordes of Chaos Warriors began to draw my attention. Not to mention the slowing releases and lessening excitement surrounding Lord of the Rings SBG. I spread my hobby seed far and wide, sampling a whole slew of games, never really finding one to settle on and in the last few years I’ve not really had any game were I could get my hobby fix. Playing games like X-wing that come pre painted and built led to a bit of a slump in my own hobby activity and enjoyment of the games I was playing. I hadn’t even realised it was the hobby itch that needed scratched.

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It wasn’t until an old friend started to get excited about the imminent release of The Battle of the Pelennor Fields box set that I even thought about what I thought was a defunct game. I hadn’t been following the game at all so was totally ignorant of the Hobbit releases, Forge World getting involved, nor of a new edition being launched. I wasn’t even aware that there was still a very active scene surrounding the game, but I still wasn’t sold. My love for the universe had faded with the buzz of the films and I wasn’t sure I could get into painting units I wasn’t keen on or had tackled plenty of times in the past.

That is until we all had a wee refresher game. As soon as the action started rules came flooding back. It was a half hour of gaming that started with me being as disinterested as they come and ending absolutely psyched for the game again.

I immediately began researching what was now available and what army I would be collecting. This opened up a whole host of possibilities that I had not seen until now. The Hobbit releases in particular caught my eye, as I was a big fan of a lot of the design elements in the films, particularly the monsters. I love some gribblies. This was it, this was when I knew that this was the game for me. It was a joy to feel so passionate again about the game that started it all, and from what I’ve experienced about it so far I know I’ll be playing for a while.

Come back soon as I’ll be taking a look at the armies I chose and why.

A Month in Pictures – October

This month saw a huge boost to my numbers, mainly because I got stuck into my own Middle Earth SBG force, Azog’s Legion. It’s been a while since I’ve had that level of enthusiasm for a project of my own and it’s a joy to have it back. So much so that I have managed to paint up a full 800pt force! Just a unit of Gundabad Orcs and I’ll have 1000pts. Next up will be some allies and the start of my good force.

I also painted up a few of the Nighthaunt models from Soul Wars for a guide in this months issue of Tabletop Gaming magazine. This gave me the oppertunity to try a few different schemes. Of all of them the monochrome was definately my favourite.

Models Painted: 46

Total painted in 2018: 151