Voila, Gondor Carroccio reworked!

First: I have updated a little more than the previous month, so please, take the time to go through one or two posts below this, especially the one about podcasts! The podcasters out there are great catalysts for many of us hobbyists.

With a lot of help from my brain I finalized the layout of the Gondor Carroccio, AKA Cart of Everliving Flame! It makes me happy:

The Gondor Cart of Everliving Flame is brought into battles as a reminder of the White City. It inspires the soldiers and gives a natural, mobile rally point and a (false) sense of security by its lumbering size and huge banners. Banners that mustn't be tainted!

The Guards of the Fountain Court (hereby known as GotFC) I choose for this project because they look elaborate enough for a ceremonial wagon such as this - and they fit in with the background story that was created for this project.
      Thank you mr FoB for giving me this Carroccio idea. And also to Jamie of Rough War (of the Ring) for when he was talking about a Knights of Dol Amroth as an awesome centerpiece. I think this project has pleased me more than the previous favourite: Very simple, but yet so satisfying project with the Isengard Orcs.
     By changing from a homemade Mumakil-sized base to the smallest of the bigger bases, and really cramming all the components in, I think it really made a difference - and also, it will be easier to game with. To make as a static model, like a warmachine, wouldn't do it right, I decided - even if it would have look good on a rectangular base, working as a passive bonus-giver - because of the oxen...

Now, time for Futurama season 7. Happy weekend wargamers and others!

Carroccio, a serious story indeed

Indeed. It seems this particular Llama wasn't the only one inspired by our colleague mr FoB's Carroccio (at Flower of Battle). The Perry Brothers has made this one:

This reminded me that it's time to rework the Gondor Cart of Everliving Flame. The Gondor Carroccio:

This project by mr Katastases has inspired me to make a Wain. A Laden Wain, that is. But then the creativity started to flow: Wouldn't it be wonderfully over-the-top to make an Easterling ceremonial wagon instead? With lots of gold and red fabrics and tackiness? A mesh between a Carroccio and the Khandish thingie... ? We shall see, I will first finish the project above by following this clever list:

- Add fabric over the oxen, dress them up. Thanks to the Perry brothers for that idea. Strange how one couldn't figure that one out oneself...
- I will keep the coffin style as a nod to the mortality of men (this whole business with the ruling class of Gondor being more or less obsessed with their own mortality). I thought it could provide further weight to the apperance of the whole contraption.
- The fires I really need to work with. Perhaps they should be put in some sort of silver bowls?
- Crew... how to go about with this? As it is now I really don't know...
- Due to space limitations, there's the possibility the oxen pairs will be placed parallell instead of in line. Will this look too bad?

I know you lot reading this are as bad as myself when it comes to commenting, but seriously, I could really need some input in this matter.


A salutation to podcasts

Sorry for spelling mistakes and other errors, there's a minor riot going on in my neighbourhood which takes away some of my concentration.

The wonderful world of podcasts... They help us motivate our hobbies and give us something positive and interesting to listen to. They shine especially when compared to commercial radio, or even more when compared to our dear DDR-radio of Sweden.
    One can of course also watch a tv-serie, for example Futurama or South Park, but that tends to take away some of one's painting concentration.

In later days, the hosts and co-hosts of 40K Radio have started publishing articles - also some of their 'bootas have written an article or two, if I am not mistaken. I can highly recommend those articles, some are about casting (Pirating! Yaaarrrr!) and others about minor luxury problems within our hobby (such as models falling on their sides).

40K Radio. One of the best since the death of Podhammer. Highly amusing once you get used to the American accents.
World's End Radio. Australians that make a great and reliable radio show mainly about the GW-hobbies. A show that recently got even better, in many ways. Highly recommend, a family friendly podcast. Australians also speak the best version of English in my highly objective opinion. Hosts are Luke Retallic and Michael Basc.
     World's End Radio are one of the few big podcasts that have had some good content regarding LotR: SBG and LotR: WotR.
The D6 generation. Mostly about boardgames. A nice little show. Family friendly. The American hosts are Raef Granger, Russ Wakelin (his surname sounds Scandinavian... ) and Craig Gallant. Their accents are not pleasant but one get used to it after a while.
    This is by far the most reliable show of those listed here, when it comes to regular updates.
Meeples and Miniatures. Also a favourite, mostly because of the shows charm and heart. By UK-resident Neil Shuck.

Videocast: UndeadVikingVideos. About boardgames. Also a lot of charm and heart and even more content!

If you're really out of things to listen to, there's always these dead podcasts that still have their material up for download:

Podhammer. Great for a person like me (and hopefully you too) that don't enjoy that much talk about wargaming and warhammer. Funny stories from Jeff & friends' lives intertwined with some wargaming talk.
Chaos-Dwarf podcast. In no way related to anything on this blog, I can still find something interesting in it. I think they have stopped producing shows, though. But the library's still there (2012).

Haven't really listened enough to Bad Dice and the Dice Tower to have something to say about them, but the audio quality is very good, just like with all the examples above - the state of production on all these are spoilingly good.


Cave Trolls

Two Cave Trolls. One plastic from Mines of Moria, and the other one from a special Dwellers Below box that contained not only the white metal Troll but also a Goblin Captain and a bunch of Goblins and also, a Balrog! Due to space limitations, the Balrog isn't even assembled yet.

Good day to you all!



I do not own the rights to any of these pictures. They are mainly from blogs, forums etc. Where it is possible I shall try to give credit to the creators. If your pictures are showing up here, please comment on this post.

Theming an army

Most of us do it, sometimes going over the top, sometimes just with a unified colour-scheme and often enough binding the army together just by painting the same symbol on the different shields. However, when we talk about theming here, we're talking about the heavy theming: Using totally different models and adding a hundred little bits and pieces in an effort to recreate, using the elements of our special hobby, a movie, an idea or a book etc.
       Take a movie and try to imitate and recreate many of the movie's elements into the little miniature army – but still keeping it playable and visually obvious what the different elements of the army represents rules-wise! It should be made easy to differentiate a troll from a goblin within the army even if it's based on the movie Avatar or Willow or Harry Potter.

Mushroom army above. I couldn't find more images from the whole army, but it surely looks interesting. I shall provide with a few examples of more or less vanilla themed armies before going into the different angles one can come from when making a themed army:

 A WHFB Lizardmen army with NMM.
 A WotR-army. Fine example of a Haradrim army.

 And a converted Minas Tirith army.

Heavyily decorated
As I said, a well done vanilla army - even with some fine conversions - has the same backstory, and nice painting scheme, but after a while, one gets tired of seeing them again again and starts to think. The first step when becoming a theme-fiend, is to start decorating the bases. The next steps will follow naturally and soon your opponent will complain about having no idea what that piece of rules correleates to that shit model of yours that has nothing to do with your, for example, Gondor army. What? A carroccio? In Gondor?

This is a typical decorated army. The fine decoration of the army and disciplined execution of the idea is making this theme very special, amusing and rare. Do I think it looks good? Not really, but one can still appreciate its various elements and especially accept its overall coherency as something pleasing. It has a strong theme.

A decorated army brings us back to the fact that most army-books and tomes produced has a built in theme. Whether it is a racial one, cultural etc they always have associated colours, sometimes even armour types, banners and many many more things which can exaggerated and used to tie the different parts together, thus making it more easy to add something very characterful or even almost forbidden (fluff-wise) into this highly coherent army. Like a High Elf dragon for Rivendell. Or a Carroccio for Gondor!

 A decorated base. With forest theme. This whole army is one of the best forest/Wood Elf armies I have ever seen! Go to the TWF for more pictures.

Gritty Style army
This is something I really enjoy: Bases that look realistic, battle-hardened miniatures, realistic paint-schemes and a lot of dirt and mud and grit. This is in many ways an example of the decorated army but these two often looks like each other's opposites: A characterful, almost happy army of bells and colours and drums and whistles, against an equally decorated – just in the opposite way, with dirt and hardship – will look diametrical different but are still the same basic idea.
The Special Paintjob
I am actually just thinking of monochrome paintjobs, although there are other examples like OSL-armies, high contrast etc.

The army above is very vanilla in its components, but the basing, banners and the extremely unified colourscheme makes it stand out in an unusual way – it looks cold and efficient, perfect for the models the creator's using. And interestingly enough, if one were to make a direct opposite, with reds and styling the bases with lava and fire, I am sure it would look equally nice.
       This example is in many ways a proof that one needs be skilled if trying to pull this off. How skilled, I do not know, but greatly moreso than the typer of this blog. I would dare say it is easier to theme an army in any of the other ways other than this way! Even if the customizion isn't nearly close to some of the other stunning armies out there! I realize this is personal, but another "proof" is the fact that there aren't that many well done monochromed armies out there. Models, yes, plenty of them – armies, no, not in comparison to other ways of theming an army. Perhaps this is because a monochrome army can look rather dull?

This is not actually a monochrome paintjob. It has a very interesting paintjob (even if the colours are ordinary in themselves) plus some OSL. It is the highly characterful 300 army by Jeff:

This army use many of the different angles of theming, and is perhaps why I am fan of it – at least when looking at the technical parts of it. Warhammer and extremely muscular miniature men aren't my thing, but again, the overall is so much greater than the parts: A highly contrasted paintjob, muscular men, skulls and Warhammer… normally things that'd make me go "Eeeew… " is really one of the better armies out there.

 Above, another great piece of work. An Undead WHFB army with OSL and all the works. Models not overly converted, if I recall correct.

Cultural Theme
Ah, yes, the best one. It is impossible not to succeed with this! You can take almost anything and make a nice theme around it. Anything! You could even make a scissor-theme around your army: Gnomes armed with scissors, lead by Edward etc etc. I am sure there are ways of tying in other things into this. The thing is, if you concentrate on just a singular or few objects to theme around, the viewers of your work, and yourself, will accept – nay, enjoy! – the fact that you are tiying in things that normally wouldn't be associated with each other.
      Like the example we are talking about: Gnomes or Goblins armed with scissors – which at least I have never heard any legends about – but when taking an iconic figure, like mr Scissorhands, people will concentrate on him and accept the overall theme. Even if Edward Scissorhands is about so much else than the "special" hands of him. And this is the core of this article: It is an extremely shallow business, this with theming an army. The only depth you can add is some visual hints that still has to tie into the theme to not stand out and take over. Subtleties, yes, but depth? No. It is difficult, and not the point of theming an army!

Kyte's Fishmen. Sculpted by the man the myth etc. Found on TWF.

Johnny B's Samurai Undead, also from TWF! Very nice.

I intentionally chose this stupid object, a scissor, as an example, not only because there are one laying in front of the monitor, but because it is such bad idea, I wanted to show you theming isn't that hard! Just start with it and the creativity will almost drive the project by itself. You will of coruse need time and get some enjoyment out of it, but those things aren't really necessary: Discipline is often enough. I mean, how often do you really enjoy doing something, anyways? Motivation is overrated.

Also, you will start to use your own imagination – I have said it before and say it again: The pressure of creativity builds easy when confined within a theme. You will come up with more ideas within this very weak theme. This is the nature of these weak and shallow themes of ours, and also its charm.

Terrain theme
Not to be confused with gritty style theming. And generally it should be easy not to make it gritty and "natural" when within the fantasy realm. Terrain, like these forested armies…


… can look really good and accomplish what their respective creators wanted, but when in a fantasy world there are almost no limits in how to create your terrain! And I must admit I am a bit surprised there aren't more armies with "special" terrain. Often enough you can see the "skull-ground" which I personally don't like. And a few special bases, like some sort of chaos base which are very imaginative. But why no "living" forests or special caverns littered with gems (however you would accomplish that) or anything else totally over the top? These kinds of projects where the fillers are more time consuming and more expensive than the actual models…
        Terrain can be swamp, lava, jungle, temperate (northern/southern), snow – ice, for that matter, even though it is very much harder to do, city, special ones like chaos, darkness etc etc. The options are seemingly limitless, but settle for one thing, perhaps the terrain your army is fighting in, fighting for, the natural terrain for them etc, and go from there. Planning is everything, sketch up how all the little bits and pieces are to be arranged – movement trays are more about design and aesthetical planning than artistic freedom! The less hipsy-hapsy freedom and "go with the flow"-bullshit, the better, I think. There are exceptions, but then you are a very talented natural creator and those aren't common.

Common with all these archetypical terrains mentioned above are that each terraintype will probably give you a whole bunch of ideas and words related to them pop up in your brain. Take "swamp" for instance: Snakes, muddy water, swamp plants, frogs, special creatures, jungle thingies, witches and vodoo, H P Lovecraft marsh cultists, the whole faction Fortress from Heroes of Might and Magic III.

Each terrain has so much legends and clichés bound to it that it's difficult not to come up with something personal for you themed army!

Combinations, the End
Not as simple as it sounds. The best armies are the ones combining an excellent execution of their theme and an interesting paintjob – both technical and in somewhat original style (be it monochrome, sepia, high contrast, OSL or a combination there of) – original as in a tad unusual. Unusual normally means: You will have to be a good painter… The thing is, what the theme is about is nearly not as important as how you execute it!
        Combining an army is one of the more pleasurable things within this hobby of ours: Chariots, blocks of troops, skirmishers and special creatures, all tied in well with one another, using the different theming styles (and of course not forgetting the technical ways one can go about accomplishing these things): Culture, Terrain, Decoration, Story (self-explanatory, not really mentioned by me here), a special paintjob, can make your idea that perhaps wasn't that strong in the beginning, pop! Like the stupid Scissors idea. Why not give it a standard paintjob but add ice to it? Polishing a turdy idea can really make it look good, and that's the goal, right? Right.

Let say as an example, that I would have done my Edheldu army using both the decorated and the the gritty style! What an interesting challenge! A challenge I am not sure I know where I would start, though. Is it doable? Why, yes of course! Would it have made the Edheldu army look better? Probably not, because I don't think I had the skill nedeed at that time. But now, after completing this second serious LotR-hobby project? Perhaps. Just take it in small pieces – the creation and design is your least problem. Getting and collecting all the stuff you want can be a hassle but is part of the fun (I guess… ) while the execution of your well planned project is, naturally the hardest. The creation in your mind should in a way go automatic – using all these stereotypes, kitschy reworks and shallow pictures to try to create something of your own.


A Hungarian story

Or is it "An Hungarian story", because the "h" is silent? Ah, well, I say as our dear Eddie Izzard would say: " ... a silent 'g' and a silent 'q' and an 's' and a 'p' and an "e"... " etc.
      Well, back to the story, which I read from a really stupid magazine I found at my workplace yesterday. A Hungarian* writes about the totalitarian state of Hungary in the 60's and 70's:

" ...there were no price increases, instead there were just 'price corrections', 'price changes' or the slightly more ponderous 'adjustment of prices to production cost." Sounds familliar.

And on another note I have finally bit the sour apple/grape and invested a few hundred money on some decent lights, finally I can see better painting been done here. Alas, I spent double the money on dangerous drugs from my dealing neighbour in an effort to better fit into the "hood" as it were, so perhaps the two will equal each other out... we shall see how it goes. No painting or converting will be done these four or five days to come, though...

*) Not the acutal Hungarian writing the story, this is a regular Youtube-hungarian added for completness.


Em4miniatures - 40mm bases

So, yesterday it rang on the Llama-cell and I didn't answer. It turned out it was the mailwoman. She had tried to push my parcel from em4miniatures through the ghetto letterbox and things happened and I slept on.
       Anyways, the parcel then had to be fetched from the local store where the post have outsourced a large portion of its business. Whatever. The parcel is here and the bases are great. 40mm bases x5 for 1GBP plus shipping to Scandinavia, which was an acceptable cost. Especially with the very high prices on GW-bases - and not to mention if one buys a GW bag of round bases one gets a bag that includes gay bike bases, totally gay, totally unusable for our fine hobby.

Link to the bases on em4miniatures.

They have a lot of other bases there. Strongly recommend them. Fast, cheap and easy to deal with. They get 5 Llama spits out of 5!

Five Llamas out of five

In other news I can tell I am experimenting with Google documents to upload some of the old .pdf:s released by the big company GeeDubb - the PDF's aren't available anywhere no more so I thought I'd do my bit and try to upload them. It seems there are still things to figure out, but we're getting there.
    And soon Sweden's real National Day is here, Midsummer! So, happy Midsummer all you Swedes out there.An interesting note is that the Americans are now the biggest group that stops by and sighs/reads at this blog. I shall post a little love letter about the USA in the future, a country which got a lot of great things which deserves to get some attention - especially in this semi-communist country of ours! This should preferably happen in the... is it 6th of July - indepence day 1776(?) something something?. Anyways, good day to you all.


Misty Mountains Overhaul

It has begun, the pieces are set and the final overhaul is beginning. The Great overhaul to end all overhauls.

Finally assembling the second Cave Troll with his fantastic mouldline on the main body and almost no such lines on the limbs. The Dragon is getting himself a new base with correct measurements. The other trays are getting the same treatment as the main formation: Cave-ish. I think there is time to rework the main formation as well...

The article on theming is soon done, expect it within the end of this month, or even tomorrow or whatever, I don't care! I do what I want.

Skip this if you are only interested in miniatures and Middle Earth
Some LOCAL news: It has come to my attention that the Grand Uppc0n is likely to not return. I passed the festival area upon its annual start before the weekend and I saw it was good and well. Alas, it will not return for the hot chicks were just too many to handle for the creators of the convention - it just grow too large (I guess one could make some sort of pun-intended/unintended here, but its just not Llama's style. Llama's style is talking about himself in third person, obviously). And I who just had discovered it: "The typical Uppc0neer is a young woman between 15-19... " sigh, I thought of it as some sort of Starwars convention with corresponding persons... who may all be interesting, but not really my type - these are more my type. They are scarce in these parts of the world, so Yay! for Italy!


Images from a battle

Just trying to get used to the idea of battle reports. Don't click on the images for a bigger version, they will not become any larger, in fact, they will probably be smaller.

The Dwarwes undamaged battle-line where the goblins were going to die by the dozen..

The Khazad Guards killed off all the Wargs and lost just one of their own.

And here one can see how misplaced my troll was - it would have been perfect to sneak into someones flank. Next time, though.


Gundabad Blackshields

Gundabad Blackshields. I had, before the infamous loss against the Dwarwes of Erebor last week, a formation consisting of two companies, where only four of the sixteen warriors were actual Gundabad models. But, thanks to some good and priceworthy finds, the ratio is now much better: 50% true Gundabads and 50% super small plastic gobbos. I think the end result is great, the difference in size somehow really works well with the rag-tag feeling a goblin warband should have - even a elite one, such as this...

As with the rest of the Misty Mountains army, the trays will be themed accordingly, just a tad simpler than the rest: A few rocks, some battle damaged wargear scattered between the bases and a few white mushrooms and perhaps one or two stalagmites.
    With this I bid you farewell and hope you all shall be spared from "difficult" neighbours and their fighting dogs, their bombs, their amphetamine-crazy friends and other happy fun times such as vomit in front of your door and crashed windows - ah, yes, the perfect mix of cultures, pretend-poverty and holidays with warm weather. At least my pictures should get better now that the sun has returned.


Painting of Rohan Royal Knights and drinking some good coffee

How I am going about painting these excellent miniatures: GW Chaos Black primer. Basecoat and a sloppy wash. Tidying up with the basecoat colours and then just one little highlight.

Models from GW and Perry Miniatures. 

The horses need a lot more work but there's just no time for that these days, sigh... I regret to say this, but almost all of June and July and first half of August will be very slow on the posting on this blog - I will however try to get in a minimum of six posts each month, since this is what I think I can realistically manage...

And here's something different:

The sprues for the Mounted Men at Arms from Perry Miniatures. I ordered a box and got it after some time. They get 10 out of 10 from me. The Perry brothers seem to be maticuluous not only in their sculpting but also in their research, so they're probably fine from a historical point of view, if that's important to you. They are made in three different... - and there I lost my momentum, boring myself with a review that others have done better.
     But how to crowbar these into LotR?


Erebor versus Misty Mountains

The fourth battle of 100 that will be played this year. At this rate the 100th game will be played in 2051, so I will try to slightly speed it up. Played against mr FoB. He won with the Dwarwes of Erebor. Around 1050 points, lasted five rounds before I conceeded with half my troops left (+50 models left on the table) and he had lost only 4 models. I lost my dragon to the Dwarf Ballista - straight shot to the eye and goodnight. Good night battle plan.

Of course no photos can be found on this blog, I can't say I enjoyed the game as much as wanting to bring out the old Ixus to take some pictures of the goblin failure...

Next fight will be 1250 points, Mordor against Erebor. The grill is already hot and waiting for some tender dwarf meat. Easy win with my excellent Mordor army: Morannon Orcs, Siege bows, Warg Riders etc will be perfect for the table we're playing on (has very little terrain). As it was in this game, the Goblins couldn't really benefit from their mobility, but on the other hand wasn't hampered by terrain versus the large formations... Goblins/Misty Mountains is still my favourite army.