Friday, 12 January 2018

Oathmark Goblins Painted

The first unit of the year painted - these are the new plastic Oathmark goblins, plus a metal promotional figure as leader. My main aim when painting them was to do so speedily and to follow the same style and palette as my Mordor orcs. So these are mostly just a base coat and a glaze or wash to provide some easy shading. I wrote a more in depth tutorial on how to paint Mordor orcs, which I referred back to as a guide for these figures.

As stand alone figures they are good for adding bulk to your collection for a reasonable price. You can get a fairly good selection of poses and there are plenty of weapon options to choose from. As an addition to my existing Mordor collection I reckon they blend in pretty well. Stylistically, they are quite similar, and scale wise they are almost made for each other. The Oathmark figures are very detailed, if you look at the close up photo you can see that even the plastics in the background have very detailed chainmail and fine details in the faces. They are a little less dynamic than the GW figures, at least that's how I posed them, which is no bad thing in my book. As the photo below shows, they make very good Mordor orcs. Now we just have to see how well they do in battle.....

Monday, 1 January 2018


Happy New Year! Here's hoping that 2018 is a happy and productive hobby year.

For one reason and another, last year was not my best hobby year. In terms of painting, gaming and posting to the blog, it was poorer than many a previous year. I am happy to draw a line under it and look forward to the next twelve months.

Here's a little face to spread joy and happiness. Old timers will recognise this figure as a goblin doom diver from the early 1990's. He was one of my favourite figures from back when I started in the hobby. Whenever I see this figure, I am transported back to those happy days, those first faltering steps in the hobby. I have managed to collect a few orcs and goblins from that era in the past few weeks and will be starting the new year with a new project. Strap yourselves in, it's gonna be an exciting ride!

Friday, 29 December 2017

X.VII - Men, Elves, Dwarfs and so much more

It's time for another look back on the ten years I have been blogging. 2014 was an excellent year to be sure and I had lots of painted items to choose from. At the start of the year I painted up a block of 36 skeletons for my Vampire Counts army, quickly followed by a couple of characters. A few weeks later I painted up a dwarf character, one of my finest ever beards I think. My chaos army got some love too, with marauders, marauder horsemen and a chariot added. I even managed a unit of finely painted high elf archers. All this in the first half of the year - if only every year could be this productive!

Historic gaming was becoming more of a staple for me and I finally found a range I was very happy with - Drabant Miniatures Vikings. I also added a few more plastic dark age warriors and some metal archers to my growing collection.

But it was a further expansion of my Lord of the Rings collection that really pleased me in this year. Having collected a decent size Orc force, I made a start on a small Rohan warband. And then later in the year I painted up these dwarf rangers - and having visited Scotland that summer decided that they would look really good in kilts!

I cannot imagine any year being surpassed by this one, in terms of the quantity and quality I achieved. It was peak hobby performance in 2014, a fine vintage.

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Three Wise Men

Three Wise Men, Middle Earth style - and another three for Beardecember! Scholars of Tolkien lore will no doubt know that five wizards are sent to Middle Earth to help in the fight against Sauron, though only three take part in the unfolding events. These three wizards are of course Gandalf, Saruman and Radagast, which are represented here, though if you have only ever seen the film without reading the books you may be struggling to identify these beards.

Starting with the easiest, Gandalf in the centre. I stuck with the usual grey outer garment, but underneath he has a smarter than usual set of blue robes. Perhaps this is a reference to the two absent members of his order, the Blue Wizards, who wander off to the east and take no further part in the tale. This was one of the first figures produced by Games Workshop for the Lord of the Rings game - for me it ranks as one of the best sculpts of the range.

The next wizard is Radagast, the Brown Wizard. In the books he is described as a lover of nature and wild things, more at ease with creatures than humans. This sculpt was produced well before his subsequent depiction in The Hobbit films. It sticks closer to the description in the book - all the wizards are described as tall with the appearance of elderly, bearded men. This figure I painted many years ago, during my "stand on a rock" phase, in a typical woodland or rustic palette.

Finally, Saruman the White Wizard, though here in disguise. If you have seen the film but not read the book, then it might surprise you to hear that Saruman does not die at Orthanc. In the book version, Saruman is defeated by Gandalf at Orthanc and his staff is broken, banished from the Order of Wizards. He slinks off with Wormtongue and we hear no more about him as the tale of the Ring unfolds. It is only long after the main events have been settled and the hobbits return to the Shire that we encounter him once more. He is now known as Sharkey and is the leader of a band of ruffians who have taken over the Shire, despoiling the land, replacing the lovely old buildings with grim factories. The four hobbits quickly organise a resistance and drive out the troublemakers. In a final scene, Saruman is killed by the long suffering Wormtongue, his body shrivels and his spirit blows away in the wind.

This Sharkey figure was released as part of boxset called the Scouring of the Shire. It is usually painted in fairly sombre colours, but I have painted it in a more flamboyant way. Perhaps Saruman still clings on to the idea that he is the Wizard of Many Colours. I just fancied painting up an orange robed character!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

More Bleak Fell Guardians

The second set of Bleak Fell Guardians are almost finished. I say almost because I am not happy with the cloaks, especially the front centre example. And the shields are a bit rushed and could benefit from a little more attention. But for the time being, they are done. My aim when I started out with these figures was to come up with something that was different to my usual drab browns, and also not just the oft-seen ghostly effect. I have definitely achieved that on this unit, but I think it worked better on my first attempt.  A few little tweaks still to do here.

All twelve guardians with the Lord of Bleak Fell at their centre - I have to admit this is not the usual palette for an undead force. Once those pink tones are adjusted I reckon it will look just fine. That's a job for the new year.

For now, in Beardecember, another set of hairy chins! Yep, I was pressing to finish these purely for that reason. I bet few people would think of these models when thinking beard.

I do have a few more beards to come, much more stereotypical than this lot, but with another little twist. That should have you tugging on your chin hairs in contemplation.......

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Middlehammer Nostalgia

Yep, a whopping 72 pages
You have no doubt heard of Warhammer (even though it's now dead). Possibly you are also familiar with Oldhammer - an appreciation of the older versions of the game, usually from the 1980's. But what if you were a fan of the not quite as old versions, from the 1990's onwards? Well, fear not, because now there's Middlehammer, for fans of the game from fourth edition onwards, roughly the 20 odd years from 1992 to the End Times. There is a facebook page for all your nostalgic needs.

Nostalgia has struck me recently. Well, it is 25 years since I started with this game! Up in the loft to bring down the xmas decorations, I came across a box full of old White Dwarf magazines. Leafing through them, I was transported back to those first days in the hobby, hesitantly clipping off hundreds of single-pose goblins and elves and fumbling through a first few games on the kitchen table. No internet back in those days to hold your hand! I was hooked and collected High Elves, some Undead and later a few dwarfs. For some reason I never really appreciated the orcs and goblins. I must have taken the hobby very seriously back in the day, as they always seemed a bit comical, a bit silly to me. But looking through the old magazines now, I can see why they were so popular.

Happy Smiley Greenskins
Do not adjust your monitor, things really were that lurid in the early (middle) days. And orcs did really look that happy. You can understand my original hesitation, as a fan of all things grim and realistic. But perhaps you can also forgive me my nostalgia, if you can see the simple charm of these figures. From the same issue (no 159 from March 1993), the next few pictures from a battle report give a flavour of the articles that had me hooked in those early hobby days.

Green horde on a green battlefield

Three or four kilos of a full metal army

The battle rages on, I loved these articles
Finally, a look at another page spread, chosen at random. A lovely bit of John Blanche art on the left, and a classic Mark Gibbons black and white illustration on the right. And. So. Many. Words. There might have been just 70 pages in an issue, but each page was crammed with reading material. To read an issue cover to cover would take hours. Ah, happy days. 

Words. Lots of them.
Legal Disclaimer: All these images are from White Dwarf magazine, copyright Games Workshop. I do not have permission to publish them, but do so as an enthusiastic fan of those golden, middle days.
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