My wife and I were feeling a bit underwhelmed by the starter scenarios in the Pelennor Fields box set so we looked into instead getting right into the Middle Earth SBG Battle Companies Book from Games Workshop. This is sort of the more skirmish game version of the main SBG skirmish game. Think of it as RPG lite, with character progression and enhanced narrative elements.

Whilst my wife has not decided on a company yet I am thinking of going with a Mordor company, so that put some Mordor Orcs at the top of my painting priority list… plus I was in the mood to paint some grungy Orcs.

These are all used models won in auctions on eBay or bought at Crisis, with various levels of painting done. All had more work done on them by me than I expected though…so much for a short cut!

One annoying issue was my ink washes went very poorly. Lesson learned, do not buy used consumables in the future, especially washes. The money saved was not worth the hassle of having to try to fix the problems caused. I had problems with washes cracking, being muddy, frosting in crevices and being glossy.

The internet research I did gave various explanations from just plain bad washes having gone off to not shaking the bottle enough, incorrect thinning, too thick application, rushing the wash without giving the paint enough time to dry first etc, etc, etc.

I think I had a mix of problems but one thing I felt was that when I first starting using washes last year it had been a magically simple exercise with my new Army Painter washes to drastically improve my minis. Now it was not. I experimented with various other washes including Vallejo and Citadel but nothing delivered results like my original Army Painter washes. Now they too were letting me down.

In the end my wife suggested just getting a whole new batch of new Army Painter washes… and that seemed to do the trick, allowing me to finally finish this batch of Orcs.

First up is Shagrat, Captain of Cirith Ungol… the Mordor Uruk-hai who recovers Frodo’s Mithril armor, as you can see on the mini. I prefer the other GW sculpt of Shagrat in heavy armor and with a shield. This one has a pose too narrative specific but I have this one and not the other. I have a second Shagrat in this pose that I converted to remove the Mithril armor and added a shield. I suppose I should try to add heavy armor to that conversion as well.

Next we have a Mordor Orc Captain. Originally I tried a very dark green for the tunic but it made the mini look too dark overall.

Next, a couple of Mordor Orc shamans. Despite having the same pose I tried to make them look distinctively different.

Then we have a Mordor Uruk-hai Captain…. apparently. Some folks immediately think Saruman and Isengard when they hear Uruk-hai but Sauron has his own as well. Not many minis made for this though, in fact whilst this mini shows in the LOTR Army Book as a Captain I believe it was originally produced as just a Mordor Uruk-hai in metal. I have converted some plastic Isengard Urk-hai to be Mordor Uruk-hai but not painted them yet.

Then we have my other two metal Mordor Uruk-hai. I might add a shield to the one with just a sword.

This fellow is an interesting conversion I picked up at Crisis. It appears the previous owner used the conversion sprue that came out with the SBG magazines to create a Guritz model. But he used a regular Mordor Orc Body instead of a Mordor Morannon Orc body. Since I have one of those conversion sprues, I am planning on using this as a regular Orc and converting a plastic Morannon in the future to avoid the high price of the usual Guritz models, new and old.

And there we have a bunch of rank and file Mordor Orcs. In the future as I start to get repeat models I will try to convert and paint them in a manner to avoid a clone army look. A couple of the Orcs have shields with stitched leather that right now look a little too IKEA to me so they may need some reworking.

I also did a couple of Moria Goblins in case I do not get any Mordor Orc archers finished… they will proxy nicely since I am of the opinion that Tolkien used Goblin and Orc interchangeably.

In other news, we saw the first two episodes of Picard.


I may not agree completely with Angry Joe… also I strongly disagree with him about the first two episodes of Star Trek Discovery… but I agree with him in a good bit of his review. I think that I was so worried I would hate it like Discovery that when I did not I found myself being a little too forgiving of the plot holes in the first episode.

I love the acting of Patrick Stewart. Picard is an amazing character and I felt myself strongly identifying with him. In the second episode where he goes to Starfleet HQ it reminded me of what it would be like for me to return to my old US Army or North Wales Police HQ’s. Hubris is definitely something I have been accused of suffering from in the past by more than a few folks.

The swearing was unnecessary and made me think the writers have not immersed themselves in Trek lore I prefer. Admittedly Picard did say “merde” in TNG, I preferred the Kirk era films showing how human language has evolved as the culture has. This lends a sense of the characters being from another time.

I dislike the attempts to make the Trek universe not so much as relevant as unnecessarily relatable.

Some folks of complained about the “hipster millennial” characterization in the show. I cringed when I saw workers on Mars use a replicator to make their food on what looked like WW2 US Army meal trays and then complain about the quality of the food. All too relatable but not in step with the technological utopia presented in other Trek shows.

I get that the show runner wants to comment on the current swing to the right in politics but Roddenberry would normally use an alien culture with this issue compared to the fairly utopian Federation. It is not just Picard or Discovery, this goes further back… if nothing else than the Section 31 plot line in Deep Space 9. Where DS9 gets away with it is because it was so excellently delivered.

Even I start to think the ends may justify the means after this iconic scene in DS9.

But that is a slippery slope indeed….


      • I’m enjoying it very much! You were already well ahead of my current skills when you began, but it’s still very encouraging to see you getting better as I read on. And also setting realistic expectations about how long it will take for me to get through my painting backlog. 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you again for the kind words. Such things really help when motivation flags a bit.

        Every time I think about my backlog of projects I remind myself that it is the journey, not the destination, that is important. I love pithy little sayings like that. Rolling stones not gathering moss, one in the hand being worth two in the bush, etc etc.

        Liked by 1 person

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