Middle Earth SBG – The White Council Gathers in Full!

The wisest and most powerful of Middle Earth finally come together, ready to battle whatever evil they must!

A final wee push added the last three members to the council, completing the force.

I’ve painted many a Gandalf over the years, but surprisingly never on a horse. I’m happy with how he turned out overall, but wish I’d gone a bit grayer on the cloak as it feels much bluer than it should.

Glamdring was a delight! Every time I paint a Gandalf I always enjoy the sword. I tried to push my NMM on this one and I’m really happy with the result.

The final elf and Lord of the West! I found this a challenge because of the material. Finecast has a lot of problems that I won’t get onto, I will say I’ll avoid working with it if I can.

I decided to play with the colour scheme a little, as most of the force has a darker feel to them. I decided on black and gold for the armour, kind of mix of the elf’s I’d already done, and the red lent itself well accenting that.

The final member and the most recent release, Saruman the White!

A beauty of a sculpt, so much so I had to replace the foot model I’d prepared for the plastic one. The detail disparity between the old foot model and the plastic rider was too great.

He did turn out a bit more cream/bone coloured than white, I was happy with the result. It keeps him in tone with the sombre tone of the rest, and he doesn’t overshadow the brightness of Galadriel.

Take a look at some photos of them all together…

Middle Earth SBG – Radagast Arrives to Aid the White Council!

The first of the Istari and definitely the..well…least renowned (unless we’re counting blues), but he does have some massive tricks up his sleeve. Not only an epic sleigh, pulled by Rhosgobel rabbits no less, but also one of the legendary great eagles.

It was a daunting task but the variety of models and base sizes meant some interesting opportunities.

The bases alone where an enjoyable, if sticky, affair. I wanted to continue the Dol Guldur theme, my White Council battling the forces of the Necromancer through the ruins. For the on foot model this meant a fairly simple stepped base, Radagast leaping into the fray, but for the sleigh and eagle I could get a bit more creative.

The sleigh already had a fantastic leaping pose, so rolling with that I created a chasm for them to leap over. This was achieved by positioning the model with blue tac and pencilling in the contact points, as well as a channel for the chasm. Then when I started building the base I could build around these guidelines.

I was free to create anything for the eagles base, just needing a contact point for the flight stand itself. I tried to create something more indicative of Dol Guldur than I had before. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if I pulled it off or not.

Overall I had a blast painting these. The variety of creatures was fun to tackle. I was going to complain about the amount of brown, but that’s definitely something I was forewarned about.

Take a look at the White Council so far…

That just leaves me with 3 members left; Gandalf, Elrond and Saruman. I’m still not sure which one takes my fancy the most.

Middle Earth SBG – Elves of the White Council

The time has finally come for paint to meet elf!

These have been awaiting paint for a while and, like the Inhumans, I found my inspiration and got stuck in!

Galadriel leads the White Council so I felt she was a suitable place to start the painting. It’s also a fairly simple sculpt and felt really small after some of the other miniatures I’ve done recently.

I’m theming the models around Dol Guldur, so I wanted to push the creepy feel on the bases but also on Galadriel herself. This is why I chose the colours for the robes, White to off green.

Celeborn felt like a natural follow on. I chose the colours to link him to Lothlorien, golden armour, and to Galadriel, the robes. I also added some floating leaves to both bases using thin wire and miniature leaves. I hope it comes across as the leaves in the wind I was trying to portray.

Last but definitely not least is Glorfindal. I wanted to keep up the spooky theme and keep this chap fairly sombre. He has died before after all. It’s a fairly monotone mini, with only the sword and the hair to really add some colour, but not a lot of warmth.

I’m really pleased with the end result, especially with the way it helps the blade stand out.

The last of the elves or the first of the wizards? Still not sure what I’ll work on next…

Middle Earth SBG – Heroes of Rohan

A commission I was working on last year for a host of characters, beginning with some of Rohans finest.

First up is the new Eowyn & Merry set. Games Workshop is knocking it out the park with thier plastic characters and these are no exception. The detail and dynamism is phenomenal.

Deorwine and Elfhelm are again some phenomenal models. Elfhelm in particular has a fantastic pose, the momentum carried through him and his horse, with the throw poised to release. Really one of my alltime favourite models.

Finally we have the bearer of the royal standard, Gamling. This is an old school metal miniature and it does show. Whilst i enjoyed this figure for the most part the banner was hell. It’s really hard to paint patterns in such a wavy area and sometimes the texture of the metal can be a little funny. I just hope that it still looks suitably impressive.

Next up is a wee bit more Rohan and a fair chunk of Mordor…

Middle Earth SBG – Iron Hills Dwarf Army Commission

I’ve been working on and off on these guys for a while now and it was finally time to pull everything together and add the final touches.

I’m happy with the result, especially the purple and the bases, a great way to tie everything together, that was requested by the client.

If you’re looking to get you’re army painted, pop me an email at deathwatchstudios@gmail.com

Middle Earth SBG – Pellanor Fields Painting in Progress

This month I’ve been furioursly painting away at the Lord of the Rings: Battle ofthe Pellanor Fields box set, and I’vejust about finished 80 or so of them…

The Morannon orcs and Army of the Dead are complete and the Rohan forces only have a little more work to be done on them.

I’m pleasantly surprised by what are some fairly old sculpts. The Rohan in particular are fairly simple, but are still very characterful.

A Month in Pictures – March 2019

55 models this month! Trippling the total so far.

I’ve been in deep with the painting this month working on a lot of commissions but also finding the time for a few of my own wee projects along the way. It’s also a month were I have tackled a variety of ranges, Harry Potter from Knight Models, Guild Ball from Steamforged, a Beholder from Wizkids and Necromunda as well as Lord of the Rings from Games Workshop.

This gives me a stiff target for next month, but I do have a job coming up that will help tremendously.

Models Painted: 55

Model Total: 75

A Month in Pictures – February 2019

On through another month and this time my painting total is looking a little healthier, but has a major difference between any of the months previous. It’s mostly terrain. My main work was the Mantic terrain crate and this one is difficult to stack onto my model count, so I’ll be starting a new scenery count as well.

Models Painted: 14

Scenery Painted: 65

Model total: 20

Scenery Total: 65

Middle Earth SBG – The White Council; Now With Extra Wildlife!

Over the last couple of weeks my focus has shifted from Azog’s Legion over to my good force, the White Council. It’s primarily the realisation of what can be done with mounts, not just horses but some of the other fantastic beasts(oops, wrong franchise) certain members of the White Council have access to, but for now we’ll start with the horses…

The first to receive an upgrade are the Gandalf and Elrond, which are also replacing the 2 I had already painted. Back to square one on that then. Both beautiful sculpts, other than the usual finecast troubles. You’ll also see my Glorfindal on Asfaloth conversion, just a simple head and weapon swap but it does the job. I will be adding a couple more details with greenstuff, to add a bit more character. Now all I need to find is a mounted Saruman.

Next up is a certain brown wizard who, due to his affinity with nature and all her beasts, can access some pretty cool options…

His sleigh, which was a lot of fun to build the base for/not a lot of fun to build, and a great eagle from the Misty Mountains. Radagast on eagle does come with a resin version but as you’ll see from the images below it’s not the best kit, so I opted to stick him on one of the plastic versions, which incedentally turned out to be the same sculpt.

I’m really excited to use Radagast and each option he has, as they each add thier own unique flavour to how you use the wizard.

Finally we have an ally coming to the aid of the White Council and his friend Radagast, Beorn and a great eagle…

Part of a bundle I was so happy to find, Beorn wasn’t a planned addition to the force but can easily join them with an allies of White Council and Radagast’s Alliance. They may lose thier army bonuses but I think it’s worth it to have a giant were-bear-man coming along for the party. This is another I’ll be addign some greenstuff to, whilst the bear form looks a lot better in the flesh I’d like to bulk him out a bit more and add a bit more detailing to the fur.

Not much left to do but fill some gaps before I can finally get a lick of paint on these guys!

Middle Earth SBG – Playing the Forces of Fangorn

“To land of gloom with tramp of doom, with roll of drum, we come, we come “

The sound of crunching bone, crushing feet, of stone and wood torn asunder, marks that the Ents of Fangorn are marching once more, and with doom they come. With many a poignant quote, this review is to highlight the army of Fangorn’s pros and cons in the battle for Middle Earth.

Let’s not deceive, its a small army. Two entries…and that’s it. The Ents are comprised of very little, both list and model wise, but each of those things offers a lot. A single Ent is capable of ripping through a warband while possessing the ability to deal with those pesky heroes at the same time. First off we will start with the one and only Hero [literally,i’m not being poetic]; Treebeard.

Tree?!’m am no tree, I am an Ent”.

 Treebeard is the only hero choice this army has but he is a Hero of Legend. Sure, he may be your only option, but he does have a lot of abilities to make up for it. I will cover the Brutal Power attacks later, as general skills across the whole army, so this bit will be about the man, I mean tree, I mean Ent.

He’s expensive. No denying it. And with the option of taking two tag alongs by the name of Merry and Pippin, he does round off at a nice number of points, but he’s not cheap. Why you ask? Well, with a fight value of 8, that pretty much means any other hero fighting him needs to boost their fight value with a Heroic, or watch helplessly when Treebeard rolls a natural 6. But the 8’s don’t stop there. Oh no. Treebeard has many 8’s across his stat line, meaning it’s hard to wound him, and he hits harder than a troll.

He comes with the normal Might and Fate you’d expect from a Hero of Legend, but also has as much Will as some of the mighty wizards across this land. Mixed with the Army bonus, which I will also cover later, Treebeard is reasonably resisted to magic.

we have agreed, you are not Orcs”.

But by far, the addition of the two Hobbits in this edition sets Treebeard well above the rest of his fellow treemen. For one, they are half the points in the Fangorn army list as they are in the Fellowship list while retaining all their stats line and wargear options. They are resistant to magic and best of all, can throw stones up to 8 inches while mounted safely upon the shoulder of Treebeard, without any modifiers should the lumbering giant move. This is quite handy for pelting the heads of any supporting spearmen attacking Treebeard as the hobbits are not engaged in the fight, nor are the spearmen.

They can dismount and move around freely, and remount by simply moving back into base contact with Treebeard. As to why you would want to get two such small and squishy characters down from their safe location, well, its a double edge sword. While grounded they can take objectives and hold ground but can be easily targeted or charged which they can’t be while mounted. Equally they can be placed to surround an opponent Treebeard has charged, or used as a counter charge should your opponent have charged him. If placed correctly, they not only trap your opponent but also add two more dice to your Duel roll, taking it to a total of 5 attacks, with 10 rolls to wound should you win. [okay, 4 of those will be at S2, lets not kid ourselves too much, but then again 6 attacks with Rend is going to ruin someone’s day]. If Treebeard fails to win the fight, your opponent will probably go for the softer target so it’s a risky move.

The only other entry for this army is the bog standing, I mean bog standard Ent. Pun aside, facing off against any Ent would be harrowing fight for even the most stalwart of warriors. With a stat line very similar to Treebeard, these high strength, high defence monsters also boast a fight value worthy of any champion. They move the same speed as any normal foot soldier and can hurl stones up to 18 inches at the highest strength the game goes to. Although they aren’t the greatest shots, and given the option of crushing one opponent with a giant rock, or bludgeoning anyone silly enough to be in base contact with you, I know which one I’d go with. Although, its still an option if used at the right moment. I’d still go with plan B. Why? Because Bludgeon really is a rule that is unique to the Ents, and only the Ents.

Its a new Brutal Power Attack that enables the Ents to pick up one of your opponents and use him to bash the brains in of anyone else in the fight. Perfect for those moments when an entire warband of goblins has surrounded your Ent, and 3 basic attacks is just not enough to get the job done, bludgeon enables the Ents to quickly reduce an opponents warband’s numbers in seconds. This means surrounding the Ent in an attempt to trap him can quickly back fire, so it will make your opponent think twice when charging you. If they even make it into combat, let’s not forget that Ent’s cause Terror so there is a chance they might not even get the charge in the first place.

Let’s not stray too far from the Brutal Power Attacks, as its these abilities that truly make the Ents a force to reckon with. Basically, the whole army can Rend, Hurl, Barge [and Bludgeon!] every time they win a fight. There is nothing like Barging all those annoying shield walls and bodyguards back 3 inches so you can step in and immediately fight your opponents Captain or Hero, who thought he was safe behind his men. Another good use for Barge is to push the banner bearer away from the fight, denying it’s bonus before plowing into weaken troops. And if that banner is too far away to push back, have you thought about Hurling some hapless swordsman at him instead, knocking down everyone else on the way? And last but not least is Rend. Most heroes have high defence values, but as you roll to wound against strength instead of defence with Rend, it’s the perfect choice for taking out multi wound characters. Additional, you can use combinations of these powers if positioned well. Push your opponent around, use the first Ent to Barge models into trapping predicaments for the next Ent to get double attacks on, or Hurl into crowded ranks for maximum effect, especially if only engaged with a single model. Oh the choices! Choose wisely, they are game changing moments [as well as being great gaming memories to share for years! Like the time Treebeard hurled an Orc Captain clear off the walkways of Lake Town into freezing water, killing him instantly. Good luck rolling for Fate from the bottom of the ocean.

Don’t be hasty” 

Not only the motto of the Army bonus, but a sound piece of advice if thinking of taking any allies with Fangorn, because as far as Army bonuses go, its a good one and worth keeping, but there is a hitch. “Side? I am on nobody’s side, as nobody is one my side.” Which is true, because Fangorn is convenient or yellow allies with everyone. They have no green allies and would therefore lose their army bonus if allying with another army. It’s a tough choice and one I would not take lightly. I’ll tell you why.

Fearless, for starters! Wow. Fearless mixed with Terror. Ouch. It means Trolls are scared of Ents, but Ents aren’t scared of them. Lose more than 50% of your army, who cares! The Ents aren’t going to run away. Why? Well, it’s time for another quote to clear that up. “Come, my friends. The Ents are going to war. It is likely that we go to our doom. The last march of the Ents.”[wipes tear away]. Need I say more.

If that’s not good enough, how about impervious to any magical power or special ability that prevents them moving, or moving them around? No longer can your opponent Transfix or Command an Ent, or affect their movement in any way [with the exception of losing a duel of course]. That’s quite a game changer since the last edition of the game.

Furthermore, Nature’s Wrath and Wrath of Bruinen no longer has any effect on them. That’s a lot of magic that has suddenly lost its shazam over the rampaging relentless trees, with additional salt being added by Treebeard’s high Will value.

That’s quite an army bonus, or three really. It will make any Fangorn player think again before slapping down some beefcake Hero from another list to “complete” his army. Not only does this stop any power creep from mixing armies, but like above, its true to the form, the feel, of the Ents, which is one of the reasons I love this game.

But enough with the pros, its time to hear the hard truths. The cons. The Ents will be out numbered 99% of the time. Due to the high points cost of even a single Ent, you will not have many, and can guarantee points left over unless playing certain combinations like 550, 800 or 1400. Ents are slow, many armies will move around them, or try to avoid the Ents at times, box you them in. Even though Ents have a high defence, they are not invulnerable. Other monsters or models that get +1 to wound [and there is a lot that can], can easily ruin your day and make Ents easy prey given the number of models you will have in your army. Lets not forget a siege weapon will kill one with a single wound. They do not have any banners, so no rerolls in Duels, and Treebeard is the only model in your army that has any Might to boost a dice roll when needed.

All in all, Fangorn is a tricky but an enjoyable army to use. Great for fun themed games against mates producing many of those great gaming moments i mentioned earlier, but you may struggle at tournaments in certain circumstances due to the problem of points. You need to use those Brutal Power Attacks to your advantage at all times. Although the current model range is a bit limited, it may get more should Fangorn ever get an update to their army, but for now, Treebeard and his merry band of walking trees are facing down the rise of evil alone. Especially if you want that awesome Army bonus. 

Written by Benjamin Morgan