So today I finished reworking one of my terrain pieces, added an animal and some new vegetation as well as some more dry brushing to the stones.

And I finished my Triceratops project. Basically it is an improved Schleich toy. I tried to retain much of the original paint but used washes to dull down the glossy plastic look. I painted some small details and based it.

How does a Triceratops fit into Middle Earth? Good question!

My wife is aware of my fondness for lizardmen so she suggested dragon-men could live in the jungles far to the south of Far Harad. And where you have lizardmen you have to have dinosaurs. I suppose in a world with dragons and oliphants some dinosaurs and lizardmen is not a big stretch.

But that said, my original plan may change. I am thinking of converting my lizardmen to sci-fi for a future project.

And the Triceratops can be used for Frostgrave Ghost Archipelago if we ever get around to playing it.

Archived evil…

Did not quite finish anything today so I decided to take some photos of miniatures I painted earlier this year. Hopefully my photography has improved since then!

The first fellow is an old Citadel thief I believe, I have decided to use him as a Corsair of Umbar. A bit cartoonish looking perhaps but I like the figure.

Then we have Grishnak in metal from Games Workshop.

Next an Isengard Uruk Hai from Mithril, but I am going to use it as a common Mordor Orc.

Followed by an Orc siege weapon crew member. I have a plan for a proxy siege weapon…

Then a older metal Morgul knight from GW.

And yes the next on is an older metal Guritz that I modified a bit to make into a generic Morannon Orc.

Then finally the Morannon Orcs that I have completed so far.

Grin and Bear it…

Another archive set of pieces…. Beorn in human and bear form. I dislike the GW Weta Beorn design, so I went with a Mithril Beorn and a Reaper Bones Dire Bear.

The Reaper Bones line is a budget line, and you can definitely see the difference when you paint them but I think bigger models, especially furry ones, work out ok.

On the movie front, recently rewatched Fifth Element with my wife. We both love that movie.

Which is why we had high hopes for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.

We saw it a while back and were disappointed by it. Rewatching Fifth Element got us thinking, it must have really been down to casting choices. The actors, in our opinion anyway, just lacked the charisma on display all over Fifth Element.

What did you think? Feel free to leave a comment!

A house for the wife…

Nothing finished today so another piece from the archives.

This one was done by my wife. It was her first piece! She seems something of a natural, although to be fair some videos from Mel the Terrain Tutor did give her a strong foundation to build on… if you will forgive the pun!

It is a ruined farmhouse terrain piece from Bolt Action. We decided the game was not for us and sold it on eBay, minus the bits we wanted to keep. The dice may come in handy for Gates of Antares or Warlords of Erehwon one day.

We are backing Mel on his book Kickstarter. Are you?

Ogre, ogre?

So today I finished a couple of reworks, improving the bases and clear coating them.

The GW Nurgle Champion was won unexpected in a larger bits auction. He came partially painted, so I rebased it and painted to my color palette. My plan was to use it as an ogre, yes I know ogres are only mentioned as an aside by Tolkien, but my wife does not like the miniature at all. So I am not sure what will become of it.

The trees were saved from a junk terrain bits auction. I was not a fan but my wife liked them so I put them on their own little bases. Now I have grown to like them.

Last night my wife and I finally caught Captain Marvel.

We had already seen Avengers: Endgame but had missed Captain Marvel in the theaters. We both found it quite good. One of our favorite Marvel movies in fact. Likable characters, witty dialogue, good fight scenes, excellent costume and set design. Good hero‘s journey character arc. Pretty much everything I ask for in a movie.

Beware the forest…

So first thing first, since this is not just a miniatures blog….

Another Life on Netflix.

Absolute rubbish other than one cool alien design and some surprising diversity. Worst crew ever. Worse than your usual assembly of Ridley Scott astroexploration experts. I endured the whole season out of curiosity for the end reveal. The only thing I felt was hope that humanity is wiped out by extraterrestrials in that parallel universe… because surely the show can not be based on our universe.

Zero Theorem.

Typical Terry Gilliam. Felt like a reboot of or sequel to Brazil… except more depressing. Overall unsatisfying. It is not Time Bandits quality….

Now on to the miniatures. I finished some reworking on some forest creatures. Four ents and a dryad.

Two ents are typical GW LOTR ents that I picked up as part of a package deal at Crisis in Belgium last year. Brilliant deal, several items already painted but needing some repairs. I hate living characters with corpses on their base, I prefer corpses to have their own base, but I decide not to completely rebase this one for a change. I did add some small details to the bases.

One of the other ents is a GW WHFB tree creature of some sort. My wife was not a fan when it arrived but she likes it now with my changes. I finished this awhile back but decided to add flock leaves this weekend.

The other ent is our current Treebeard. It is an Eaglemoss figure but I think it makes a fine budget proxy.

The little one is a 1/72 scale (25 mm) Ent from a boardgame. We are using it as a dryad. Tolkien mentions dryads in Middle Earth. Stat wise we trat it as a Wood Elf Sentinel. The musical abilities match our idea of ents magical singing to trees.

There will be a lot more dryads and ents to come, my wife basically wants a magical forest of them….

Product improvement…

I run on a careful budget, although it may not look it. EBay has been good to me with fortune auction victories. I do not bid high, I bid often.

So sometimes I win items already painted to a decent standard… but I always try to put my own stamp on it, if you catch my drift. Tidy up bits, change a few colors, add some washes and rebase.

Here you can see some terrain I won and added my own touches to, including adding little animals. Sometimes I get a bit carried away and fill a piece up with so much I can not put a miniature on it!

The GWFB High Elves are often available at low cost on eBay. My wife is not normally a fan of the sculptures, particularly the oversized helmets and weapons. But once I do some modifications and paint them in a color scheme she likes they join her army.

Here you can see a comparison between how one started and how I changed it. I just completed it today so it joins the captain in the other picture. Two more to go! The forces of Rivendell are just a bit stronger….

Beware the Black Numenoreans…

The Black Numenorean miniatures, at least the ones on foot are not particularly inspiring… and with only three poses it makes a unit of them look rather static. So I look for alternatives.

I have tried a few ideas that I have seen others do, use GW Dark Elves, use Army of the Dead (my wife‘s Army of the Dead will use GW chain rasp miniatures), use Numenoreans from the Last Alliance… pretty much anything.

I think GW Dark Elves have a suitably gothic look to match the Weta LOTR Black Numenorean look of the Mouth of Sauron. I just had to cut down their oversized swords. And for some reason Black Numenoreans make me think of old artwork I have seen of Michael Moorcock‘s Elric of Melniboné.

So far my most popular has been my conversion of the GW Vampire Isabella von Carstein. I use her as a Black Numenorean in game…. fluff wise she is  Queen Berúthiel. Hence why I added a cat to her base.

I know these miniatures go against the Dark Ages historical look popular with Tolkien purists, an aesthetic I actually like, but Peter Jackson, Weta Workshop and Games Workshop have all reimagined Middle Earth with such skill that many, including my wife, prefer the much later period costuming.

To deal with this I have tried balancing a lot of different visions of Middle Earth into our vision of it. From Tolkien himself, various films, computer games, posters and various other artwork… all the way up to what my wife imagined.

What do you think? Does it work for you or are you a purist?

And Now for Something Completely Different…

This blog is mostly focused on creating the vision of Middle Earth that I share with my wife. But that is not all…

Despite agreeing to limit this hobby to one genre I slipped down a slippery slope thanks to a really great EBay auction and now I have a sci-fi distraction. Focused mostly on starship battles but also likely at some point to get into planetary complications.

Now I know a lot of people recommend X-Wing… but I like big fleet actions with capital ships. Armada? Yeah well maybe but I like painting my own ships and having a little more creative flexibility.

Winning an auction for some Dropfleet Commander ships convinced me to give it a try. First impressions, I like the mechanics. I love the ships… and fortunately my wife likes the ships too! She particularly likes the Scourge ships but not the Scourge lore so we may end up making up our own fluff. I really like all the fleets but I think I will focus on the UCM and let my wife play all the other fleets in opposition to me.

I am still undecided on the UCM color scheme, but most likely UN or MCRN from the Expanse. My wife wants her primary fleet, the Scourge to be in aquatic metallic colors. The Shaltari in a green theme and the PHR in the white of the box art. We do not have any resistance ships yet but when we do, I am thinking hodgepodge tramp freighter colors.

But it isn‘t all starships on my mind. Keeping a sharp eye on eBay I have some projects far down my list… such as GW Tau miniatures for the PHR, Mantic GCPS for UCM, and GW skinks and saurus warriors for Shaltari. Not so sure for her Scourge. We thought about her ships being like Moya in Farscape with a mixed crew of various freedom loving races.

Part of this is to make use of some minis I already have going spare… but also at some point I would like to work on 28mm sci-fi terrain.

But what rules? Gates of Antares reminds me of Bolt Action which was ok but a little too… streamlined for me. Good for tournaments with strangers in a shop but not really my thing. I do like the miniatures though.

I do not know anything about the Mantic sci-fi games but they have some cool miniatures.

So many interesting miniatures from so many different games… what to do? Stargrunt 2! I stumbled onto this thanks to a discussion on the Lead Adventure forum. Free game rules, hard sci-fi infantry focused wargaming. Old school and I love the look of it so far. Only problem is that it seems a bit one dimensional, focusing only on war. It would be great to have something with some other elements, like exploration. My wife had an idea of one game a month, with each game being an away team Expedition to a new world.

Any recommendations or suggestions on these future plans are greatly appreciated

Getting the defenses ready…

Some bits previously done, but with the two barricades I recently finished. Coming together nicely I think.

The staked positions are from the sadly discontinued Bretonnians of GW.

If you look close at the guard post you will find a snail I won in one of the bits auctions I won on eBay. I really love going through random bits auctions and finding gems like that hidden at the bottom of the pile.

Several colorful objective markers and scatter terrain. My wife is not a fan of casualty markers but I like them to add a sense of foreboding to the table. I thought the raven really set the piece off.

What do you folks think?

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