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War of the Ring boardgame
#1
Having just finished the TYW Spanish and not having the budget for the next project I needed something else to paint, something I already had. Now, I have had the “War of the Ring” boardgame since 2004 and it was one of the first in the new generation of boardgames that came with plastic miniatures as playing pieces rather than old fashioned cardboard counters. I have played quite happily with it occasionally as issued but Mike Greenslade (Wessex’s premier boardgame afficianado) and I have started playing quite regularly so I thought to have a go at that hence my one and, likely, only entry on the Fantasy Painting Forum.
So, 205 plastic minis to paint made out of the old fashioned bendy plastic reminiscent of Airfix 1/72nd figures of the 70’s. Now that means no enamels, as the paint will flake off, so my first foray into acrylics. The figures themselves are quite crude, especially compared to modern hard plastic 28mm stuff, so no point going for a high detailed, high falutin’ paint scheme. Just a simple paint job with a wash should do the trick which is to enable novice players to see who is who from a mass of previously plain blue red or grey plastic figures.
Having done a bit of research the first thing is to clean away any flash and straighten out as much as possible all the bendy spears and leaning figures using a combination of hot and cold water to soften and then fix once in position. Then a thorough wash in a mild detergent to remove any residual release agents from the moulding process and allow to dry thoroughly before applying an undercoat.

First up the forces of the Free Peoples – Elves,  Dwarves, The North, Rohan and Gondor. As always, start with the difficult stuff and as the Free Peoples are more colourful and have mounted troops they qualify as difficult. Or as my brother liked to point out back in the late 70’s when we actually did fantasy wargaming  “ you do the good guys first for practice so the bad guys look better”.

Elves to start with and they consist of the three types of playing piece that make up all free peoples factions. What each figure is equipped with is purely aesthetic and has no effect in the game.  Regulars, which are foot; Elites are usually mounted and Leaders which are the same as Elites but have standards. In game play each Regular or Elite generates a single combat die roll and Leaders enable a missed roll to be re-rolled.  Elites can take two hits before elimination and can effect sieges. There are pretty much equal numbers of troops for both sides but once a Free Peoples unit is eliminated it is out of the game whereas Sauron’s units can be endlessly re-cycled.


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First up the Elven Elites and the elves get twice as many elites than regulars, unlike any other faction in the game. Like most of the sculpts not particularly realistic from a historical gamers point of view with all that excess mail but Tolkien didn’t really describe who looked like what so anything goes…ask Peter Jackson.


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Elven Regulars on the left and Leaders mounted on the right. All the leaders are the same sculpts as Elites but with standard instead of weapon. As Glorfindel  had a white horse, Asfaloth,  I gave all the leaders one as well. Again to help any novice players I painted the base rim the faction colour depicting the border of that Free Peoples nation as on the gameboard itself.


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The North includes the men from places like Dale and Bree, the remnants of the Dunedain in the old North kingdoms as well as Hobbits from the Shire. All the minis though are men starting with these Regulars. Unlike some other examples of painting this set online I have kept the palette pretty muted



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Elites mounted as usual with the Leaders and standards. Painted the latter up with more grey to represent the Grey Company of Dunedain that went searching for Aragorn as the war started. Not much info on standards in Tolkien and this one and the elves pretty much made up as far as I can tell.


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Rohan Regulars. Green seems to be the default colour for the Rohirrim, especially as reinforced by Jackson, and probably comes from the green field of the White Horse standard that we do know they carried as descendants of the House of Eorl. Not particularly realistic to have such a horse’s head embossed on your shield but it makes painting it easier! They were definitely fair haired and basically mounted Vikings. Tolkien was a philologist and specialized in Old English so he was very familiar with what we call the Dark Ages and explains why most of his troops are in mail hauberks and plate rarely gets mentioned.


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I quite like these sculpts and the Rohirrim are my favourites from the books as is Theoden. From Eomers example I have assumed that all Marshals of the Riddermark had white plumes.


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As a nation on a war footing when the book starts Gondor gets more troops than any other Free Peoples nation. Technically the only troops in Gondor who bore the White Tree were the Citadel Guards as the livery of the Stewards was plain white. But it is a nice colour combination and the trees are embossed on the shields so hey ho.  First appearance of plate armour; the only troops I remember having it were the Swan knights of Dol Amroth in “full harness”.


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More White Trees on the mounted and a pretty unusual breastplate more akin to armour found on a tank!


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And finally the Dwarves. They, like the North, usually don’t see much action which is understandable in the Ered Luin but Erebor is quite close to the border of the Easterlings. Indeed, there was quite a bit of fighting around Erebor and Thranduil’s kingdom during the War but it is only mentioned in the appendices and explains why Gandalf was so keen to see the end of Smaug.
The better equipped ones are the Elites, not surprisingly unmounted and the Leaders tote standards with the symbols of Durin’s house which are known.


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With 205 figures to do I set aside a year for this but just about half done in less than three months.
Next up the forces of the Shadow. Oh goody!!
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#2
Fantastic stuff Paul. Free hand on the shields?
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#3
(07-20-2016, 10:51 PM)Phil Yates Wrote:  Fantastic stuff Paul. Free hand on the shields?

Thanks Phil but definitely not free hand. Part of the unrealistic nature of these game pieces is the shield, and standard,. emblems are embossed,raised detail(see the Rohan infantry) so painting them is pretty easy
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#4
They still look great.
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#5
Well done. Nice figures with charactor, but waiting to see the goblins.
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#6
Goblins/orcs as requested.  I can’t paint this quick, this batch started two weeks ago happened to be finished last weekend.
There are three Shadow factions: Sauron, Southrons and Easterlings and Isengard and because there are only three the first two are bigger than any other.  Normally I would have done the more colourful Southrons first but there were 36 of Sauron’s orcs I wanted to get out of the way first.


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Never a fan of green skinned orcs so went with a pale flesh ( they don’t like the sun any more than I do) dirtied up with a black then brown wash as they are not very clean and are probably pretty scabrous. Mostly funny looking plate failing to cover the vital bits, but not that intelligent either, and of course the Red Eye of Sauron on the shields.


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Sauron’s elites are these Olog- hai trolls that are cunning and can endure the sun so I gave them a darker skin. Dangerous enough with an axe but in typical fantasy fashion they have a pointy glove thing as well All the Shadow factions just have Regulars and Elites, no Leaders, with regulars forming the bulk so that the Free Peoples elites are a greater percentage of the whole and have twice as many leaders.


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Leadership for the Shadow is provided by the Nazgul. These do not follow the 25mm scale used by most of the rest as they would be too big. These are also from the first edition of the game as they redesigned them to stop them falling over- I just added a penny piece underneath as I like these sculpts better.
The Nazgul have one big advantage in that their movement is unlimited in the game. There are only eight here as the Lord of the Nazgul is a Shadow character along with The Mouth of Sauron and Saruman who all also provide leadership. Seven members of the Fellowship also provide leadership ensuring that in one department the Free Peoples have an advantage.

All caught up with painting for now and about to have a holiday so nothing to add until September I think.
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#7
September is here and just finished the penultimate faction, the Southrons and Easterlings. That said the troop types involved are all Southrons.


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Southrons, or Haradrim are from the hot and dusty South and are described as dark skinned and wore scarlet and brazen armour. Toned down the scarlet as didn’t want anything too bright and went with ancient bronze which is golden in shade which complements the Haradrim love of gold adornments.


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Southron and Easterling Elites not surprisingly come in the form of the Mumaks or oliphaunts as Sam called them. Tolkien had them as oversized elephants but not as big as the Jackson versions that were way over the top. One of my biggest bugbears about the films was the way Theoden decided to take on the mumaks with cavalry. As I said before, Tolkien knew his stuff and the mounted Rohirrim could not close with the mumaks who had to be dealt with by companies of archers on foot.

Final stage now with just the Isengard forces to do and then the characters.
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#8
Looking fab! Looking forward to when you bring them out for board-game night!
Regards
Mark

Dib Dib Dob Fish Tricycle!
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#9
Unfortunately, it is only a two player game and takes a while longer than our two to three hour Friday night slot. Mike and I will be playing it at the all day meeting in December, as we both have copies and would like to broaden our pool of potential opponents so come along and see how it works.

Looking forward to Kingmaker( if that is what we are still doing) on Friday.

Loyaute me lie!
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#10
Just over a week to tackle the Isengarders but then again they are the smallest faction for the Forces of Darkness at 12 Regulars and 6 Elites but that is a high proportion of Elites.


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First off the regulars, Uruk-hai who are by common consent the worst models in the game with completely over the top fantasy type armour and heads that could either be heads or armour. I went with armour as these half-orcs could pass for human, but not with a face like that, hence the less pale flesh than you would find on orcs.


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Conversely, the Elites are very good models of Wolf(or warg) Riders in quite dynamic poses. Pretty realistic as far as orcs riding a wolf can be realistic!

Almost there now with just a dozen or so characters to do so looks like everything might be done in time for Bilbo and Frodo’s joint birthday.
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