Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Iron Claw Black Orcs.

For this Blog update I am going to focus on one particular range of models, the Black Orcs by Iron Claw in the 1980's.

Recently I was lucky enough to the pick up the last of Black Orcs I required to complete the set. As I have also been sorting out my Orc Army at the time, I thuoght I would be good to paint up, and then look closely at this range in it's entirety.

The range was designed and sculpted for Games Workshop by Bob Olley and released as part of his Iron Claw Range, designated IC601.
1988 release sheet.

In addition there were three extra Black Orcs sculpted by Bob Olley which appeared in the 'Red Catalogue' in 1991, as 'Giant Black Orcs', as 'Axe 1', 'Mace 2', and 'Axe 2'. 

There is a discrepancy in both ranges I have noticed. I have assumed that Black Orc #7 from the 1998 release is the same as 'Halberd 2'. However, the stand of 'Halberd 2' looks slightly different, and he has a (plastic) shield on his back, something which Black Orc #7 does not have a tab to allow. So the may be another Black Orc variant.
 1991 Catalogue page. 

Many of the miniatures from 1988 failed to make it into the 1991 catalogue, but from memory I recall that several of them were still avaliable in blister packs for some time. 

Personally I like Bob Olley's sculpting, but I do understand that they are not to everyones taste. I confess that, apart from the Goblins, I was never very impressed with the any of the Iron Claw ranges, especially at the time. However there is a certain 'true-ism' that Bob Olley's sculpting looks awful until you paint it and then it all comes together, something which I have found also to be true, especially the Squat ranges. 

One of the best details I liked in this range are the shields. Personally they are reminiscent of Ian Miller's excellent Lord of the Rings artwork. With that in mind I have painted them up in the sympathy with the artwork. 
Ian Miller's artwork  which inspired my shield painting.
(Legal bit: this belongs to the wonderfully talented Ian Miller and is only shown to illustrate the sculpting and painting of the shields).

I plan to use these miniatures as some of the Mordor Uruk-Hai in my larger non-Peter Jackson Lord of the Rings army. I have painted them in sympathy with the description of Uruks ans Orcs in Tolkiens books, 'dark clothed, flesh the colour of wood charred by flame, and eyes like hot coals'. 
 To achieve this I undercoated the miniatures black; drybrushed the whole model a mid brown (Citadels Mournfang Brown, the old Bestial Brown colour), and then lightly applied the rest of the colours allowing the dark undercoat to come through. For the flesh I used Vallejo German Field Grey. All the miniatures were given a black wash to give greater depth and tie in the details.

I have photographed all 15 of the Bob Olley Black Orcs, both front and rear to give a better idea of the deatils and sculpting. 

Enjoy :)
Group photograph of the 15 Bob Olley Black Orcs.
 From the 1988 release sheet, Black Orcs #1 and 2.
I love the detailing on both of these miniatures. Number 1 has an excellently detailed and very heavy looking gauntlet.
Black Orc #2 is a very much a leader model, and the shield has a lovely detailed face to it.
I have photographed closer shots of the shields later in the blog.
As a point of reference, all the miniatures are based on 25mm square bases, which may give you an idea of the larger size of the miniatures.
 Rear view of Black Orcs #1 and 2.
 Black Orc 3 and 4.
Again an excellently detailed shield on #3, which is also based on the same body type as Black Orc #2.
As I have noted in other previous blog updates, Citadel, and those sculpters who worked on sister ranges, built up ranges from a basic core of sculpts and then converted other models from that range to add additional models.
 Rear views.
#3 showing the same armour as Black Orc #2.
 Black Orcs #5 and 6.
Black 6 has an eye patch and vicious looking mace, whilst #6 has another Goblinoid looking faced shield.
 Rear views.
 Black Orcs #7 and 8.
Black Orc 7 has a nicely detailed halberd with a face.
Black Orc 8 has the severed head of either a Dwarf or Human. I have painted him blond, like a Rohan, in keeping with the Lord of the Rings theme.
 Rear views.
Number 8 has the same body sculpt as #5.
 Black Orcs #9 and 10.
Black Orc 7 is pictured in the release sheet without a shield, but on the miniature there is a tab for a plastic shield.
Rear views.
Black Orc 9 has the same body type as #1, and #10 the same as #4.
 Black Orcs #11 and 12.
Black Orc #11 is one of my favourites heavy looking pole arm and face shield.
 Rear views.
#11 is brother to one of the Black Orcs below, whilst #12 is releated to both #2 and #3.
'Giant Black Orcs' from the 1991 Red Catalogue, 'Axe 1' and 'Mace 2'.
I am unsure why these miniatures were not released at the same time as the others.
 Rear view.
'Mace 2' has, ahem, a hole in his chainmail LOL .
 'Axe 2'.
He is again another Black Orc with a tab which allows a plastic shield to be added.
Rear view.
 Close up of the shields of Black Orcs #2 and 3.
 Shields of #11 and 6.
The severed head acquired by Black Orc #8, and the gauntlet of #1.

EDIT: March 2015. For a look at another set of the Iron Claw Black Orcs, painted much brighter, please check out : 

Not sure what the next blog update will be on.
 I am getting bored with sorting out the Lords of the Rings Orcs and have a a mind to finally finsih off the fantasy Slann army off.
I do need to focus on a project as I have been remiss of late with my blog updates and painting, and so wish to get back into the habit of regular painting and blog updating. 

Thursday, 12 February 2015

An old style Lord of the Rings Orc army project.

   A long time ago in an ancient age (well 1995) as dark power gathered it's forces...

At that time I was bored with 2nd Edition 40k, unimpressed with 4th Edition Warhammer fantasy, and unhappy with the direction of design of Citadels miniatures ranges, and many of the copy-cat companies. I had always collected other companies miniatures, some of my first purchases were Grenadier Undead, but I had always based my armies in the Warhammer setting.

Now strange as it seems I had never read the Lord of the Rings until my early 20's (in the mid 1990's) although I had seen the film, the 1978 Ralph Bakshi film that is, and had had a copy of MERP for years. After finally reading the Hobbit, the Lord of the Rings, and the Silmarillion I was inspired to build an Orc army. A big Orc army, big enough to Wreck Lake Town or smash Gondor or besiege and ruin Gondolin.

So over the course of a few years in the latter 1990's I collected several hundred Orcs, as well as many Trolls, Hobgoblins, Giant Orcs, and generally other useful things, from a variety of companies such as Harlequin, Grenadier, Alternative Armies, Ral Partha, and of course the old 1980's Citadel ranges. Anyway, I had abadoned the idea by 2000 as I had other projects on my mind and had also collected a Mithril Miniatures Orc army to represent Mordor. By 2001 the Peter Jackson films were released and I was gaming that for a lttie while, and also back into playing lots and lots of 40k.

Recently, after finishing my Space Slann and wanting a change from sorting out the Squat army and was idly looking on Google and chanced across people who had done exactly what I had planned 20 odd years, ago!!
 This fired my imagination to revisit my old project, and so I have, and painted the following over the last week to ten days. I have'nt painted the emblems on the shields as of yet as I am unsure how to proceed. I am not sure whether to keep them blank so they can represent Orcs from the earlier Ages of Middle Earth, or go for the classic Orcs of the Red Eye for the Third Age of Sunlight. If I go for Third Age, some of the Orcs will have the White Hand of Saruman on the shields, and so I will have to wait until the army is sorted out in to regiments before painting the shields. I would have liked to have done the whole army as Saruman's army of the White Hand, but it limits them to killing Rohan and kidnapping Hobbits!

Enjoy :) 
The start of my attempt to cover the the whole of Middle Earth in second Darkness.
I have mixed different manufacters together to create that rag-bag gentic mix that are Orcs. 
I had orginally intended have the Grenadier miniatures in a seperate army, but they mix well with each other .
Close up of the 1980s Citadel Lord of the Rings range of Orcs. 
I have gone for a dark and limited palette for all of the Orcs, using Vallejo Field Grey for the flesh tone, and mainly browns or the occasional dull red for cloth.
Citadel solid based C-Series/Fantasy Tribes Orc range.
I love these old ranges as the Orcs are really characterful and fit well with my mental image of Tolkien's  Orcs.
Some of Nick Lunds excellent Grenadier miniatures Orcs.
A mix of late 1980's Citadel Orcs.
Iron Claw Black Orcs. 
I am going to use these as Uruk Hai. 
I love the detailing on the shields which always remind me of Ian Miller's illustrations. In that vein, I painted them green with red eyes, similar to some of his illustrations.
Like the Orcs, I have avoided the Peter Jackson paint flesh tones, and gone for one more based on the books.
More Uruk Hai, courtesy of Iron Claw.
A few more Uruks, this time a Maruader Miniautres one on the left, and a shieldless Iron Claw one on the right.
WIP Uruk Hai.
Left a Grenadier Giant Orc, and right an old Harlequin Giant Great Orc.
The Orc breeding pit WIP/sorting shelf.
I have at least three times as many Orcs as this to add to the army. I did'nt get time to sort out a proper photograph, but will for next time.

 A couple of the Orcs with the old 1995 paint scheme. Same principles of dark palette and greyish skin, but I hope to make a better job of it this time. .

Next update I will hopefully have the time to do a proper in depth look at the miniatures, and do a step by step painting guide.

Monday, 2 February 2015

It's been a little while! Now what to do.

...yes, it's been about three weeks since I last updated my blog! 

At first my main distraction was having building work done at home which turned out to be a less than happy experience with the builders. However, just over a week ago I was ready to update but felt unwell, which turned in a very bad case of gastroenteritis which left me unable to paint or blog, and for a several days confined to bed. Sorry to say but my only forrays into my hobby were the occasional post/like on the Oldhammer Facebook Group, and of course a little bit of e-bay :)

But I'm back and (mostly) alive and well and looking forward starting a new project.

After the great success with the Space Slann project I have been comtemplating the following projects for the coming year (in no particular order):
  • finishing off the Squat Army re-dux, with the repainting and rebasing of the army and painting the 'new' items which I have bought.
  • a small Rogue Trader Tyranid project. I already had some 'nids from the era, and have recently picked up a few more odds and ends. In total I have 10 Zoats; 12 Warriors; 8 Termagants; 3 Screamer Killers; 20 or so Genestealer Hybrids; lots of Genestealers (about 100).
  • Painting my 3,000 point 3rd Edition Warhammer Empire army. 
  • Painting my 3,000 point 3rd Edition Warhammer High Elf army. By doing this and the Empire army I will have completed my Warhammer Armies project, one usuable 3,000 point army from each of the army list entries. 
  • Goblins. There are always Goblins to paint! And I have missed painting them for a while. 
  • My 18th Century alternative history army. I have always been interested in the premise of the English re-adopting the Longbow (Warbow) after switching to Firearms and Pike. I would like to convert up an English/British army, either using War of The Spanish Succession miniatures, or Seven Years War miniatures, and using a mix of Longbows, English Bills, Pikes, and maybe a few Muskets and Cannon.
  • Paint my Lord of the Rings Orc army, which consists of Nick Lund sculpted models, from his Chronicle ranges to his Grenadier work. I still need to buy a few Half Orcs and Archers, but the army is largely collected.
  • Finish of the Preatorian Imperial Guard army. I also have Catachans to finish too!
  • I have both a Chaos Nipponese army to attend to, as well as lots of 1980's Chaos Warriors I would like to paint. I want to approach the Chaos Warriors more as an unusual painting project with scenic bases. Similar in approach, but different in style to Don Hans excellent work, which can be found here: http://realmofcitadel.blogspot.co.uk/  .  I was thinking more of a Tzeentch style for mine, but I'll see.
  • Maybe, just maybe, finish more Fantasy Slann this year.
I am sure there will be a few more high point 3rd Edition battles with Justin, and I am bound to end up buying stuff from somewhere that I will want to paint as well.
Also at some point I want to start sculpting. I have several ideas but need to organise things. 

 Catachan in the Jungle.
 Three squads of eight Squat Bikers in need of painting and re-basing.
 Converted Squat Heavy Weapons Trike. 
There are many weapon mount options in the Squat army list, but as the model comes with e Multi Melta most people opt for that. Most of my trikes have Multi Metlas but I decided to choose a D-Cannon for this one, using a spare D-Cannon from the Rogue Trader Eldar set. I intend to add a Missile Launcher from an old model Helicopter to another, and I have already added a Las-Cannon from the Rogue Trader Ork Wartrakk onto a third.
The Brighthelmstone Squat League infantry, consisting of eight Brotherhoods of a Warlord, four Hearthguard, three Comabat Squads in each.
 Tyranid Warriors from the Space Crusade/Rogue Trader era.
 Indomitable Gnome Fighter, from Citadel's BC 1 Adventer Starter Set. 
I painted him in about an hour for the 'I've never painted a ....... before -The Fantasy 100 Club, on the 'Oldhammer Forum':
Turns out I had never painted a Gnome before!
 Grenadier/Chronicle Goblins sculpted by Nick Lund. 
Nick Lund Orcs! 

The next update will be on the project which I have decided to start first, and will be a lot sooner than three weeks! :)