The Lord of the Rings

Last Christmas, I actually had some time off work and decided not to waste it – I would complete a large project that had been sitting in the wings for a while. All through the year, I had been doing bits and pieces to my army of Gondor but my Mordor orcs I had just been keeping in a shoe box, about 200 of them. So, I settled on painting a complete army for Lord of the Rings.

I have already showcased my Uruk-Hai army on this diary but, with the coming of Gondor and Mordor, I simply had no space in my display cases to keep everything – so, it kinda spilled out onto my gaming table (I do most of my gaming at work these days…).

You also get to see a picture of my gaming room!


Kinda looks like someone gave a 12 year old a credit card and told them to decorate, right?

Anyway, that is a 6 ft. by 4 ft. table in the middle, to be joined by a low coffee table that will sit in the bay window once I can get around to bringing it back from the office (a second table always useful to keep books and killed minis to one side). I also want to put another two shelves/display case combos on the wall the photo was taken from (just to your right, out of picture as you look at the photo), but there is time enough for that.

Here is a better photo of the armies of Good and Evil.


And a whistlestop tour of the forces of Gondor.


The Rangers and Knights hold the right flank…


… with big blocks of infantry in the centre.


The Army of the Dead are just coming onto the battlefield (need lots more of these guys).


While Denethor and his guard watch on (ably assisted by Grima Wormtongue!).


On the Orcs’ side, the Uruk-Hai hold their left flank, along with scouts and some large war machines.


While the Orcs of Mordor gather in their masses. The more astutue of you will realise that there are actually ten Ring Wraiths here, with the Witchking represented twice, once on foot and then in the air.


These Orcs were super-quick to paint. I was going to do them in a similar fashion to the Uruk-Hai (base colours, and then Goop), but elected instead to undercoat black and then drybrush pretty much everything. In this way I was able to rattle through about 50-odd Orcs every day, including basing, and they give the impression of a dark, implacable horde very nicely.

I also got some new bits and pieces done this weekend, along with more photos of other armies I have worked on in the past, so stay tuned this week!


My Fighting Uruk-hai

I’ve always quite liked the Lord of the Rings range from Games Workshop, but I never had anyone to play with and I never really liked the idea of the skirmish game.  Fighting on Weathertop?  Makes for a good story, but does not really interest me in a game.  However, the Battle of Pelennor Fields?  The Battle of Helms Deep?  Count me in.  When the War of the Ring game arrived, coupled with the fact that most Lord of the Rings miniatures go for tuppence on eBay, I knew my time had come.

I really wanted to do an army of Rohan, but the mounted guys are one of the few Lord of the Rings miniatures to still command a decently high price on eBay.  The Uruk-hai, however, are another story.  I picked up a whole bunch of warriors and other bits and pieces on eBay, spending maybe £20 at a push on the whole lot, got hold of some of the War of the Ring bases from Games Workshop (which cost considerably more) and started work.

The Uruk-hai are a very characterful force, the archetypal ‘dark’ army, with black banners, filthy warriors and rows of pikes!

The Fighting Uruk-hai

As it turned out, this has been the easiest and quickest army I have ever painited.  I have said before that the Magic Goop method means you can spend more time on the bases than the actual miniatures – for the Uruk-hai, this was literally true.  The vast majority of the models use just three colours, and they have a very fast method of painting;

  1. Paint the entire miniature (with a very large brush) with a thin coat of Blot Gun Metal.
  2. Paint the thighs, chin and, on some models, upper arms with Dark Flesh.
  3. Paint the pike shafts and hair black.
  4. Drown the model in Magic Goop (for those who missed the earlier post, Magic Goop is a 1-3 mix of water and Ronseal quick Dry Satin Walnut Wood Varnish – one pot will last you quite a few complete armies).

And that really is it.  Let it dry, do the bases, and then you are good to dominate Middle Earth.

These are my three units of Scouts, all armed differently – and this is the most annoying thing about the plastics for Lord of the Rings.  You get 24 models in a typical box, but they are armed three different ways, so you may only get one unit of 8 models of the type you are actually wanting.  If you are buying new, that can get pretty expensive pretty quickly, and it is bad enough on eBay.  I would have done an army from Mordor long before now if they had not been arranged that way.

Anyway, the scouts – with one unit led by Ugluk.

Scouts with Swords and Shields

Scouts with Swords

Scouts with Bows

This was one of the first units I painted up – a nice big block of basic warriors.  A standard has been included (kind of essential in a unit like this, as you want a few flags dotted about the army, waving in the breeze), and they are being led by Lurtz.


Quite proud of these, a battery of three Siege Assault Ballistas.  The bases were custom made from plywood, suitably shaped and round depressions for bases cut out by my Father (I lack a workshop at the moment or, indeed, any method for working with wood).

Siege Assault Ballistas

Just a single unit of Berserkers were added.  For these chaps, you alter the painting process so that the Dark Flesh goes on first and the Bolt Gun Metal details are picked out after.


Not in the movie, but I could not resist an Isengard Troll.

Isengard Troll

I picked up this model of Grima, already painted, for £1 on eBay.  Just re-based him to fit in with the rest of the army, job done!

Grima Wormtongue

Just in case an enemy decides to hide behind thick walls, a couple of bases of Siege Troops make up another unit.

Siege Troops

This is the main unit in the army, a big block of pikemen with standard, and led by Saruman and a Uruk-hai Shaman.  This unit, for me, says everything you need to know about the Uruk-hai – lots of them and very tough! They very much form the centrepiece of the army.


I do have some more Uruk-hai tucked away that have not been painted yet, but they are near worthless on eBay and, having filled up one shelf in my display cabinets with this army, I am not going to do any work on them in the foreseeable future.  If I come across someone who has a War of the Ring force themselves, I’ll start expanding this force but, for now, it is good  as is.

Not that this will stop me doing another Lord of the Rings army.  Still wanting to do Rohan, I had an abortive attempt to collect a force of them and instead went for a bunch of High Elves.  I finally pulled them out of their box and painted them up during last week.  Again, very easy and quick to paint, but much brighter than the Uruk-hai (though I did not want to follow thr traditional blue colourings for them).

High Elves

I haven’t got round to doing the War of the Ring bases yet (which are actually a buit of a pig to do, as you need to keep the sand away from where the miniatures sit, and if you use your thumb to do that, you can grind away your skin).  Still, they have all been grouped in eights, ready for that basing.

This is a unit of the warriors, led by Gil-Galad.  As I said, the painting is simple, with a thin coating of Blood Red, armour picked out in Shining Gold (the longest job in this batch), Elf Flesh for skin, and Bleached Bone for the sash.  The Magic Goop goes on and then Chaos Black is used to pick out the boots, sword handles and any other details.  Mithril for the blades goes on last to keep it ‘clean.’

Elven Warriors

And, of course, they are joined by ranks of Archers.


I need to put these guys on War of the Ring bases, of course, but I am really at a loss to know what to do thereafter, apart from more warriors and archers.  It turns out (he discovers, after he actually started the army) that there are not too many units available for High Elves.  There are some elite troops, but you cannot go overboard on that, and I really did not want to do a ‘general’ elf force, but wanted to keep it specific to High Elves. I’ll have to have a think about that, maybe see if anything else is released for the forthcoming Hobbit range (though I have a feeling they will concentrate on elves from Mirkwood, pansies that they are).

Maybe I should have done a Wood Elf force instead.  Or, perhaps better, stuck to the original plan of the Rohirrim.

I have one more army to showcase, but that may wait until next week.  In the meantime, I need to get some snaps this week of the models I completed the weekend just gone, and also fill you in on the current Traveller campaign.