Saturday, 31 October 2015

Mithril Miniatures Orcs

As it's the Oldhammer Community 'Orctober', I thought I would dig out some old Orcs a few couple of weeks ago to paint up. For a change I thought I would re-visit my old Mithril collection.

For those of you unaware, Mithril Miniatures are a miniatures company based in Ireland (with their sister company 'Prince August')  who gained the rights to produce miniatures based on Tolkiens writings when GW lost the rights in 1987. Their website is here:

Their miniatures are designed to be pieces used for viginettes, one offs, or skirmishers, and collecting, rather than actual wargaming. In addition they are also normally supplied pre-primed in their special grey undercoat, although most of the time the extra metal arms/weapons/etc with the miniature are'nt. The reason I think they use the grey undercoat is it brings out the details on the miniatures nicely when in the blister pack. The grey undercoat is fine to work with, although I sometimes find that it does'nt always hold the paint as well as black, and so I usually therefore give them a black wash before painting.
'Ugluk' and 'Grishnakh', in their Mithril Miniatures grey primer (re-based on 30mm and 25mm bases respectively). 

Mithril Miniatures did make one brief forray into Wargaming in 1994 with their Orcs of Mordor and Gondor box sets, but the Tolkien Estate (for some reason) took a dim view of this and, as I understand (but could be wrong), suggested it was a breach of licence. This was exactly when I was taking an interest in Mithril.

I had seen Mithril Miniatures from early on in my collecting and they had always intrigued me, but I was more focused on Warhammer and at the time I had'nt even read the books! By 1994 I was thoughly disenchanted with 4th Edition Warhammer and 2nd Edition 40k, and I had just finally read the Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, and was about to read the Silmarillion (which I did). I like the scultp of te Orcs, although less keen on some of their interpretations of other races, many of which have weird looking eyes and very high foreheads.

Anyway, this was at the exact time that Mithril made its short lived foray into wargaming miniatures by releasing the Warband boxsets, the Orcs of Mordor (MW336) , and Men of Gondor (MW337).

The Orcs of Mordor (MW336) boxset (this is an internet piccy, I can't find my ones they could be anywhere. I did find some 40k Beastmen which was great, but that's kind of irrelevant to this post. :)  )

So I bought three of the Orc boxsets, and two of the Gondorian ones (from the now long closed 'Albion Armouries' shop in Brighton), thus giving me a good basis for both armies. I painted them up over the time in 1994/5, adding odds and ends as I went, and half forgot about them in the late 1990's. In 2000, with the release of Peter Jacksons god awful films Lord of the Rings Trilogy, the Orcs saw action again for a while as proxy miniatures for GW's spin-off game.

And then they were forgotten about again for well over a decade until this Oldhammer 'Orctober'. So I sorted out the Orcs I already had, I did a small mail order to Mithril Miniatures (who seem to be very nice people), and based a lot of them up. I have'nt, due to work, illness, and a myriad of other reasons, really re/painted many, but here's the few I have done...
Enjoy :)
Two Orcs with an intertwined fate in the 'Two Towers'.
On the left is M178 'Ugluk', and on the right MS504 'Grishnakh'.
I have based 'Ugluk' on a 30mm base like all of my Mithril Uruk-Hai, and 'Grishnakh' on 25mm base, like all of my Mithril Orcs.
When basing I went for a mix of woodland and Autumn flocks and basing materials. When I think of Middle Earth, I always for some reason think of it in Autumn, perhaps because I find it a magical time of the year. I also painted the base edges dark brown to blend more with the woodland feel. 
M333 Lugburz Great Uruk.
He's a big Uruk, and unlike 'Ugluk', only just fits on the base. The lipped bases are good at hiding the solid bases.
Two Orcs of Mordor.
Left an armoured Orc M313, and the right the spearman from MC29 Orcs of Mordor blister.
For the skin tone of the Orcs, the Uruk-Hai, and Trolls, I used a light drybrush of Vallejo German Field Grey WWII. I wanted to go for a dark black/grey tone to the flesh as more Tolkiens description. I also went for dark weapons and equipment to keep with the 'Land of Shadow' feel. 
Three Orcs from the Orcs of Mordor (MW336) boxset.
Unlike most other Mithril Miniatures, the boxset miniatures were not grey primed.
I like many of the boxset models as they are running, and it gives a good feel for the Orcs of Middle Earth, who always seem to be running to or away from some place to another. 
M174 Cave Troll of the Under Deeps.
Although a Cave Troll I have pressed him into the service of Mordor.
He is based on a 40mm base.
Rear view, showing more of the base.
I do enjoy doing the Autumnal bases.
A not very good photograph of my Mithril Miniatures Mordor Orc Army WIP.
It consists of 100 Orc Infantry (divided into five regiments of 20); 30 Orc Archers (divided in three regiments of 10); 4 Trolls and 1 Olog-Hai; 6 Uruk-Hai (on the bigger 30mm bases); 1 Orc Animist; 1 Orc, and 1 Human Tracker; and of course Grishnakh.
Not shown in the photograph I also can add 5 Warg Riders (including the Salute 2008 one); a Werewolf; Nazgul; and a couple of Haradrian. 
 Closer on the left.
 Close on the right.
Due to the delicate nature of the bow shafts, I have had to make a couple of repairs over the years.
...and here are the 40k Beastmen I found, in need of some painting.

Unfortunately for the Orcs of Mordor I don't intend continuing painting them into November and beyond. I'm not really in the mood for Tolkien or have the desire enough to focus on it as a project. I have been sorting out something I have wanted to tackle for a while, but first need to spend some time sorting before I post.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

1980's Warhammer Posters.

I have'nt actually done any painting in the last week or so due to being very busy at work, ill with some kind of cold/flu, as well as also being a little 'in between' projects to focus on. So I thought I would post about something miniatures releated, but a little more unusual.

Whilst sorting out odds and ends and looking for something, I came across a couple of my old Warhammer posters I bought in the 1980's. One of them is the iconic Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader artwork used on the rulebook cover. This poster was released at the time of the Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader release as some sort of promotion.

The second poster is an early Warhammer Fantasy Battle poster. It is from 1984, and is very much a 1st Edition era poster, depicting a lot of old solid based miniatures, from Citadel, Ral Partha, and Minifigs. The miniatures belong to Gary Chalk and Joe Dever, and are depicted taking part in a battle scene, attacking a castle.

I bought both posters in late 1987, just as 40k was being released, and purchased them from a now long gone shops in Worthing called 'The Crazy Dwarf'. If you look in a few of the old White Dwarf magazines you can still find their adverts. It was a small shop, not far from the train station, and had a good range of roleplaying stuff and miniatures. It was here I bought my first Space Slann. I really love both of these posters, and had them on my wall (kept up with blu tack! :/ ) in the 1980's, and feel that both of them really capture the feel of their respective times. I will be getting both posters framed at some point soon.

In conversation online I have discovered that the Warhammer poster was partly featured in a photograph  in White Dwarf #62. It was entitled 'Attack on the Kai Monastery', and linked with the Lone Wolf background.
Zhu Bajiee updated about this on his Blog here:

Enjoy :)
 The Crimson Fists last stand on Rynns World.
One of the best pieces 40k artwork, and probably the most iconic Rogue Trader era artwork. Space Marines fighting Orks.
The poster measures 23 inches/59cm by 33 inches/83cm.
 Close up of the Marines.
 The menacing silhouettes of Space Ork Dreadnoughts emerging from the smoke.
 Credits on the poster.
 The Warhammer Fantasy poster. 
The dimensions of the poster are 16 and a half inches/42cm by 23 and a half inches/59cm.
 The style of the Warhammer logo, and the date, suggest to me that it more 1st Edition Warhammer, as do the old miniatures photographed! 
The battle is mainly one of Orcs, Goblins, Hobgoblins, Trolls, Lizardmen, and a few Chaos followers, attacking a castle defended by Humans and Elves.
 Top left is a regiment of Tom Meier's Lizardman Warriors, whilst to their right are some of Nick Lund's early Chronicle Miniatures Orc Wolf Riders. 
Bottom left is the Fiend Factory FF16-1 Giant Troll attacking with Spiked Club from Citadels first miniatures releases back in 1979.
 Ral Partha Orcs leading a charge. 
These were from the 'Chaos Wars' range, which is currently being brought back into production by Ral Partha themselves.
A forces of mainly Minifigs Pig-Faced Orcs, with a few Minifigs 'Valley of the Four Winds' range Orcs amonst them.
The Pig-Faced Orcs are also back in produced via Minfigs/Matchlock miniatures.
A regiment of Citadel Fantasty Tribes Orcs (FTO range). Looking at them closely most of them seem to be the Orcs which ended up in the later C15 Armoured Orcs Range.
A mass of Nick Lunds Citadel era Chronicle Hobgoblins from the N12 Hobgoblins range. There looks to be a few of his earlier Chronicle range there too.
Another Chronicle Hobgoblin, this time the 'Shaman', fires a magical Fireball at the castles defences. 
All around him is a large pack of Wolves, which are from Chronicles earlier CM Creatures and Monsters range.
There's a lot going on in this part of the battlefield!
Centre stage is one of Citadels/Tony Aklands Arcane Monstrosities, the TA4 Monstrous Orc War Machine.
In front of the War Machine are a group of FTO/C Series Orc archers and warriors, and the odd Pig-Faced Orc. Behind them are some of Citadels FTG-1 Gnolls/Great Goblins with Pole Arms.
Just above them to their left is a regiment of Hinchcliffe Goblins armed with spears.
Just beyond them, lurking in the tree line, is the orginal version of Grom and his Goblin Guards (RR3 Grom's Goblin Guard Regiment of Renown).
In front of Grom, partly obsucured by the Warmachine, is a regiment of FTN Night Goblins/C13 Night Goblins, led by a Chronicle Miniatures CM21G Giant Orc.
 A little ahead of the miniatures in the previous photograph is this regiment. It consists of a mixture FTO range Orcs/C Series Orcs, including some of the FTO-04 Orcs with seperate Spears, some Ral Partha Orcs, and a Fantasy Tribe FTT4 Troll in Chainmail with Scimitar.
 In the top left hand corner of the poster are some Great Goblin/Gnolls lurking (as Goblins are want to do sometimes!). The regiment is composed of the FTG14 Gnorman the Gnoll (aka Gilbert the Goblin) miniature.
Behind them are some C13 Night Goblins, also used as Red Goblins. To thier right and front are the Hinchcliffe Goblins and C Series Orcs from a couple of photographs ago.
Down the bottom and centre of the poster, near the 'Warhammer' logo, is a small group of Chaos Warriors. They look like they are a mix of the first version of the SS1 Speciality Set-Warriors of Chaos, and CO1 Chaos Fighters.
Along from them, in the corner is a C35 Chaos Warrior. 
Around him are Tom Meier Lizardmen, C Series Orcs, and more Chaos Warriors.
Below all of this are the credits for this poster reading,
"Figures and Terrain Gary Chalk & Joe Dever, Photography Andy Whale & Joe Dever. 
C Gary Chalk, Joe Dever 1984. 
 Back up the top of the poster are more Citadel  series Goblins, and Runequest Trollkin in the foreground.They are supported by some Chronicle N13 Kobolds.
 Further down the battle line are more Chronicle miniatures, earlier variants of his Wolf Rider range.

 The next few photographs are of the banners of the attacking army.
Here is a wonderful banner of a Jaguar, carried aloft by a Champion of Chaos.
 A half moon banner, carried by a Ral Partha Orc.
The Chronicle Hobgoblins have a rune banner emblazoned with a heart pieced with a dagger on.
Another Ral Partha Orc, this time with a magical looking banner with what looks like a magical vortex or galaxy on it.
All of the banners are lovely and full of details, and really capture that early 1980's feel.
Behind the above Orc are a pair of Fantasy Tribes range Giant Boars.
The defenders of the Castle!
Up in the tower and battlements are a selction of Citadel C01 Fighters, RR2 Knights of Origo, and Ral Partha Elves.
Close up of the defenders banner, another lovely painted banner. 
Futher along on the lower battlements and being attacked by the Hobgoblins Fireball, are more Ral Partha Elves, pre slotta C Series Fighers, and some Chaos Warriors! Perhaps they are from a rival God/dess?
Below and towards the end of the lower battlements is a gate, the FS Fantasy Specials Range, FS3-2 Demon Doorway (aka Portal of Chaos).
These were later re-released in the 1990's and again in the 2000's by Games Workshop as part of the Arcane Architecture range. As far as I know they are now out of production.

As I am in-between projects, and have not settled on something, I am not sure what the next update will be on. I have been sorting through both my Mithril collection, Fantasy Slann, and the 40k Squats, and so need to focus on something. :)

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

85,000+ views and Pygmies with Blowpipes.

As of today I have reached 85,987 views of my blog!! That is something I find really incredible considering I only started the blog in April 2013, updating about once a week on my latest random project. Again I would like to say thank you to everyone who has viewed my blog and takes an interest in my collection.

In the last week or so I have wanted to, and I felt I have, tackled a little problem.
Ignoring the terrible pun, I have wanted to find a good paint scheme for my C27 Pygmies. As many people familar with the range may know, the Pygmies are 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle allies to the Slann. They are designed to be jungle dwelling savages in the fantasy South/Meso-American background that is Lustria.

The sculpts are however loosely based on Africans (there is an argument that they could be based on the  Olmec, although whether the Olmecs were African or Native American is a debate in itself) and have a Zulu look to them and thier shields and weapons. They are also, to be honest, slightly caricaturistic and could be, especially if you consider them to be African, slightly racist. The exaggerated big lips and bone through the nose don't help.

Now I am not going to get into another big debate on the the range, although an interesting debate with links happened earlier on my blog here... my main reason for me collecting Pygmies is as an ally to my Slann army, and as these were miniatures used at the time (1984 to 1992, basically 2nd and 3rd Edition Warhammer Fantasy Battle), that is the reason for collecting them. Now to tone down the possible 'racist' or caracture look of them, to link them more with to the Slann and the pseudo Pre-Columbian American/Amazonian Indian look, and to make them look colourful, I decided to painted them with colourful warpaint.

Painting wise I was wanted to give the impression that each of the untis of the Pygmies were from different tibes. So to achieve this I gave each unit different warpaint schemes. When it comes to all things Lustrian I am always inspired by the 'Magnificent Sven' scenario from Warhammer 2nd Edition. This is true for the Pygmies as well. Even though they do not take part in the scenario, there is a mention of them in the background of 'Karl Ustracutter', mentioning that one of his previous expeditions was "...ambushed by a confederation of six cannibal tribes". I took the idea of a confederation of Pygmy tribes as the basis for my Pygmy Ally Contingent, and also as a good excuse to paint them with different warpaint schemes to vary the colours. 
Enjoy :)
 31 Pygmies.
I have painted two units of 10 Scouts, one unit of Pygmy Braves, and one Shaman.
The units are consist of three different miniatures; 'Puff', 'Ahg', and the 'Standard Bearer', as well as one 'Shaman' miniature.
10 Scouts with a standard bearer.
I added standard bearers to my Scout units as they are, unlike other skirmishers, able to engage in melee. giving them a Standard Bearer gives them that little bit of help if they get charged, or if they decide to engage in melee themselves (you never know!).
'Puff', 'Ahg', and the 'Standard Bearer'.
I chose a a mix of black and red warpaint for this unit. To highlight the indiviualistic nature of Scouts, I have painted each Pygmies warpaint with different designs. I used pictures of Amazonian Indians as a basis for inspiration.
More Scouts.
This unit is one I had painted last year, and so all I did was add warpaint, and swap in a Standard Bearer.
Last four.
I like Blowpipes as weapons in 3rd Edition. The D6 strength attack can be a nasty suprise to an enemy, and I find that Scout units can harass enemy flanks quite nicely. 
The second Pygmy Scout unit.
Apart from the Standard Bearer, I decided to just use the 'Puff' miniature for this unit.
 Standard Bearer and two 'Puffs'!
 Three Scouts, this time with body warpaint as well.
Two more Scouts.
I painted the feathers of the blow darts green rather than red, so as not to clash with the warpaint.
Last two.
 10 Pygmy Braves.
Unlike the Scouts, I did'nt give them a Standard bearer.
I am not sure if they are allowed to skirmish, Warhammer Armies is a little unclear on whether allies can Skirmishers or not. Even if they could, a Standard Bearer would be a waste of points and only useful if they were to engage in melee with other skirmishers.
The unit is composed of nine of the 'Agh' miniature, and one 'Puff' who acts as the unit champion.
I went for a skull, almost Mexican looking, style of warpaint.
 Also, as painting the bone through the nose would not show up very well against the white warpaint, I painted it gold. Many Indian tribes around Colombia used a lot of gold nose pieces and jewellery (before the Spainish took most of it!).
With a couple of the warpaint schemes I plan to paint the bone either gold, jade green, or turquoise. I think this will add to the colour of the models, and also again tone down the caracture look.
Pygmy Shaman, a Level 15 Wizard.
The miniature is sculpted with what looks like grass skirts and hat. I painted these more colourful and ritual to suggest they were dyed, and gave him a skeletal warpaint.
Apart from the Pygmies, I wanted to re-visit this unit of Jungle Braves Slann. I was not happy with the large shields they had, so I swapped them for smaller ones. I also added a little more brown shading to the yellow flesh colour.
I also tinkered with the standard, adding little more colour to it.
 New (old) shields.
Karl Ustracutter has a few Pygmy problems somewhere deep in the Jungle!

I had intended to paint more Pygmies, perhaps even completing the Ally Contingents. 
However as it's 'Orctober' ( ), I have been sorting out my old Mithril Miniatures Mordor Orc Army (yes, an army of Mithril Miniatures) with an eye to re/painting them, so I shall see where my muse takes me.