Andrew’s Hobby Adventures and the Road to Clash

By Andrew Colman

As 2017 draws to a close, I thought it would be appropriate to put down a record of my hobby adventures since Masters in July, and the rapidly approaching road to Clash.

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It’s been a successful few months from a tournament standpoint

In the latter half of this year I’ve enjoyed a return to the all cavalry forces I love so dearly with wins at Courage of Numenor and Wrath & Ruin (for the 4th year in a row!) using Knights of Minas Tirith and Morgul Knights respectively. Playing a mounted army gives me such a sense of empowerment, you can dictate the game from start to finish and the onus is on you to maintain your advantage. It demands good play, and rewards it. I’ve gotten to flex my hobby muscles, in technical painting ability, style, display board and conversions. It was satisfying to see how my skills have developed, and the receipt of my first ever painting award at Wrath and Ruin felt like a real validation of that. I’m now hungry for more, but it is a seriously competitive field of very talented people. I also helped run my first ever event at Hobbitcon alongside Adam and fellow blogger Ian. I’ve been at enough tournaments by now that some of the processes felt very natural, but it was good to experience it from the other side of the fence, there’s some substantial planning involved in the endeavor. Some TO’s may groan at being asked obscure rules questions, but I lapped them up. Hobbitcon will be returning next year in some form, but I am also eyeing up doing a Battle Companies event with the upcoming release of the new book.

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My first ever painting award. I was over the moon about it

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Titleholder 4 years in a row!

Speaking of Battle Companies, I’ve been enjoying several campaigns of it using a fan made supplement with my friend Ben. I introduced him to the game around 6 months ago and he has dived into it voraciously. We are fellow board game players and he was one of the many people who had a Mines of Moria set in the cupboard, so it was an enthusiastic jump from cards and tokens to miniatures. Battle Companies is a great mechanism to learn the game  and the skirmish principles at its core. Weapon choices, matchups, movement, utilising terrain and obstacles, might management etc are all magnified. It quickly exposes you to lots of different armies and their unique characteristics and style. So far I’ve used a Gondor and Minas Morgul company, both of which have been thoroughly enjoyable and produced lots of memorable characters and stories (My Gondor Leader earned the title of Slayer after he killed two trolls in consectutive turns with one arm!) . I’m looking forward to the official supplement eagerly.

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The scribbling’s of my Gondor Battle Company. They’d gotten quite potent by retirement

Clash of the Titans 2018 is fast approaching, and with it I’m looking to continue thinning out my formidable backlog. I’ve made a commitment to myself not to purchase more toy soldiers until I’ve more or less defeated my backlog in a meaningful way (optimism I know!). My eye turns to the next mounted armies on my list. I’ve intended to do a Rohan army for a very long time, and indeed Infantry Rohan with throwing spears has been my go-to casual army. The recent introduction of the army bonuses used at Throne of Skulls that have been adapted in many of our events here solidifying my first choice into a definite lock in. At the moment, the list I’m looking at looks like this:
Eomer – Horse, Shield

4 Westfold Redshields

1 Westfold Redshield – Banner

 

Erkenbrand – Horse

4 Westfold Redshields

 

Eowyn-Horse

4 Westfold Redshields

1 Rohan Outrider

 

Captain of Rohan – Heavy Armour, Shield, Horse

5 Westfold Redshields

 

23 Models, 10 Might

 

It’s a solid competitive list, but it retains a good theme and I’ve consciously avoided taking Sons of Eorl. F4, S4 and bowfire everywhere means you’ll be beating almost all evil armies where it counts, and the multiple F5 heroes are a good answer to a more elite evil force. I’ve popped an outrider in there as a scout, hopefully should be useful to grab an objective in the endgame.

I’m quite excited to use Eowyn in a dress, the model is wonderful and I’m quite pleased with the mounted conversion I’ve created. I’m planning to convert the captain to represent Elfhelm, the Captain whom Eoywn travelled with in disguise, with  an elf helmet.

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It would be nice to see a little more female representation in the models in our game, the sculpts they receive are fabulous.

At the time of writing I’ve completed the 17 dismounts for my warriors sans basing, shields and other miscellaneous touch ups. I’ve adopted a rather unconventional painting technique with them, but I’m quite pleased with it. I painted their cloth and cloaks with progressive shades of grey with the usual stages of highlights, and once they were done gave them a solid green wash. This gives them an excellent weathered, rugged look that’s a pretty strong departure from the bright greens of my previous Rohan paintjobs. It also allows my heroes to stand out more with the regal green cloaks and makes them easier to spot on the table. I’ve sprinkled a solid number of conversions amongst them as well, predominantly head and arm swaps, being inspired by Jade Johnsson’s Rohan conversions at Wrath and Ruin, where he converted every model in the army. It’s on to the horses and riders! I’ve also embarked on a most ambitious and impractical display board for them. I’ll keep it under wraps for the time being but suffice to say I had to get in touch with Michael to find out what the dimension limitations were.

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Really pleased with how these are progressing, especially the faces and eyes. A real improvement from some of my past attempts.

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A peek into Andrew’s conversion chopshop.

My evil army is more of an enigma at this stage. The most forefront option is some form of warg army. I’ve composed several variants:

A pure Isengard army with Saruman

Saruman -Horse

6 Warg Riders – Shield

 

Sharku- Warg, Shield

6 Warg Riders – Shield

 

Orc Captain – Warg, Shield

5 Warg Riders – Shield

 

Grima Wormtongue

 

21 Models, 8 Might, Isengard Army Bonus

 

An Isengard army with Crebain represented by allying in a Wild Warg chieftan and batswarms

Thrydan Wolfsbane – Horse

8 Warg Riders – Shield

 

Sharku – Warg, Shield

8 Warg Riders – Shield

1 Warg Rider – Banner

 

Wild Warg Cheiftan

2 Batswarms (Crebain conversions)

 

22 Models, 7 Might

 

A Mordor rendition with a Ringwraith

Ringwraith 2/9/1 – Horse

3 Trackers – Warg

6 Warg Riders – 1 Banner

1 Morgul Knight – War Horn (I envisage him as the conduit by which the Wraith gives their orders rather than dealing with the orcs directly)

 

Orc Captain – Warg, Shield

3 Trackers – Warg

5 Warg Riders

 

Orc Captain – Warg, Shield

3 Trackers – Warg

5 Warg Riders

 

29 Models, 6 Might, Barad-dur or Modor Army Bonus (I am also toying with the idea of dropping the horn and a few wargs for Shelob)

 

I like different things about each of these lists, picking one is proving difficult. If you prefer one over the others I’d love to hear your thoughts. One thing I am a little concerned for is organising all the dismounts for the warg army, as a fair number of the wargs could end up dismounted, and I’d really like to avoid purchasing more models if at all possible. I currently have 14 Warg Riders and 12 Hunter Orcs on Wargs. I’m planning to do some chopping and green stuffing to turn them into a homogeneous force. The Hunter Orcs though, do not detach from the fell wargs, its a single piece of plastic, so I’d need to get separate models for the dismounted wargs (sneaky GW making you buy more models). I’d like to avoid that if I could but I may not have a choice. The Warg Riders I’ll look to simply avoid gluing to their mounts for ease of use, or perhaps magnetise, time dependent.

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If the Warg Riders fall through due to lack of time, I’ve got two back options. The first is the Morgul Knights I helmed at Wrath and Ruin, very nicely painted with a fabulous display board. They may not fare as well however in pure good vs evil matchups because of the diminshed strength of their terror and F4 against matchups more likely to have high fight value and courage. The other is the Necromancer with 4 of the new Wraiths. I’ve been itching to try them since they came out, I even did conversions for them all and run them as castellans before they even had profiles when the movie first released. It seems to be a very unique playstyle they promote, but it looks potent in the right hands. If not now I will most certainly be bringing it at some point in the future.

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So eager to use them I had them before they even existed!

In non Middle Earth news, I’ll heading down to Canberra for Cancon in January with fellow SBG friends Ian and Adam to play my second tournament of Bolt Action (and spread the word of SBG of course). Considering my existing backlog and plans for Clash in February and my unfamiliarity with the system still, I’m not game to start another army yet so the British will be marching forth again.

Looking ahead to the future, Masters will this year most likely be held in Sydney, so I will be looking to avenge myself on last year to become the first repeat title holder with the home turf advantage. Potential list building is already ticking away in the back of my mind…

 

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